From my Flickfeast.co.uk review. Which may already be familiar to some.
AKA Cemetary Man.
Dellamorte Dellamore is a zombie movie, but it’s one unlike any
other I can think of. It is, in fact, a perfect zombie movie to show
someone who thinks that all zombie movies are basically the same
shambling gorefest, from one film to the next.
Based on the novel by Tiziano Sclavi, director Michele Soavi crafts a
masterpiece of existentialist horror, helped by writer Gianni Romoli
and a pitch-perfect lead performance from Rupert Everett. The fact that
the lovely Anna Falchi is also here, bewitching the male gaze with her
consumate loveliness, is also a big plus.
Everett plays Francesco Dellamorte, aka the cemetery man. He looks
after the dead. More importantly, he takes care of the dead when they
rise up again, on the seventh night after their death. His existence is a
lonely one, with most of his time spent in the cemetery in the company
of his assistant, Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro). Gnaghi can’t really
speak more than one word, and his placid, childlike nature makes him an
ideal person to help Francesco and share in the secret duty carried out
in the cemetery. Things start to become complicated when Francesco falls
in love with a beautiful woman (Falchi), leading to events that will
have him questioning his life and his role as a dealer of death.
Sarcastic, exhausted, unhinged, and desperate are the words that I
would use to describe Francesco, and all of these traits are expressed
perfectly in the performance from Everett (one I would be tempted to
call a career-best). Hadji-Lazaro does well in his supporting role,
especially in the moments that hint at his character not being half as
dumb as he appears to be, and Falchi is so gorgeous that it doesn’t
matter when she’s given the most bizarre character developments.
As good as they all are, however, the cast are really just pawns
moved in place by Romoli and Soavi. The director provides a succession
of gorgeous imagery, with the main cemetery design an absolute triumph,
and the design of every shot is atypically artistic for this sort of
fare. The dialogue isn’t always as smooth as it could be, but that’s not
a problem when you start to get your head around the ideas being toyed
with. Francesco can’t decide what is worse, the dead coming to life or
the living who are just dying over time anyway, and he starts to create a
moral quagmire for himself when he stops seeing much difference between
the two. But don’t worry, all of this thoughtful existentialism comes
without any loss to the actual zombie action and bloodshed.
I hope this review is enough of a push for anyone who has yet to see
the movie, and I didn’t even mention the relationship that involves one
main character and a decapitated head, the zombie biker sequence that
echoes Psychomania, or the ending that is as brilliant as it is bizarre.
You can buy it here.
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