La Foresta Di Ghiaccio, The Ice Forest (2014)
Directed by: Claudio Noce
Written by: Claudio Noce, Elisa Amoruso, Francesca Manieri
Starring: Adriano Giannini, Domenico Diele, Emir Kusturica, Kseniya Rappoport
THE ICE FOREST (2014)
aka La Foresta Di Ghiaccio
Italian language with English subtitles
Lana, an undercop cop, investigates the possible murder of a woman found in the Italian alps near an old power station. Her investigation coincides with the arrival of Pietro, a young technical engineer, to the town who’s been hired to repair the faults at the power station which keeps causing blackouts. With less than welcoming residents of the town, besides from main gaffer Lorenzo, suspicions begin to grow that the townspeople may be hiding something at the power station.
THE ICE FOREST, or La Foresta Di Ghiaccio as it’s known in its native Italian, is a slow-moving thriller that focuses on the small town in the Italian Alps and the secrets being kept there. With a body found in the snow, undercover officer Lana (Kseniya Rappoport) is positive that something sinister going on and that it’s not just some woman who got lost in the forest and froze to death. Disguising herself as a wildlife ranger who’s trying to catch a bear roaming the forest, she digs around for clues as to what the townspeople may possibly be hiding.
Pietro (Domenico Diele) is a talented young guy hired by Brazil-loving Lorenzo (Adriano Giannini) to fix the power station up in the mountains. Lorenzo seems to be the only friendly face in the town, even supplying Pietro with somewhere to stay, but even he has his dubious dealings that raise concern in Pietro’s mind…
THE ICE FOREST is not the easiest film to watch. It’s plodding plotline and stiff supporting characters make it a struggle to watch and enjoy. A real sense of hatred and fear is built up in the film and the unfriendly characters in the town don’t help in settling or engaging the viewer, particularly when we don’t get to know many of them besides Lana, Pietro and Lorenzo. The script itself is quite vague, leaving the scenes sometimes hard to decipher, but the overall plot is pretty predicatable from the start.
Kseniya Rappoport, Domenico Diele and Adriano Giannini do a great job in carrying the film as there’s little other than their performances that are of interest. Even the stunning, snow-capped mountains and frosty alpine forest can only do so much in pleasing the viewer before the bleak plot takes over.
THE ICE FOREST feels as though it’s aiming to be a gritty Nordic Noir tale, but it struggles to get even close to those well written pieces of cinema. Unfortunately, THE ICE FOREST is lacking in both the story and script department with characters the viewer doesn’t really care about one way or the other. The incoherent screenplay that drags its feet throughout the 99 minutes running time is hard to connect to and even a random sex scene between two characters who appear to be fighting the same cause doesn’t do enough to spice things up. Its only saving grace is a few of the performances, the location and cinematography, which capture the beauty and isolation of the Alps.