Wednesday 22nd October, 8.30pm, London Odeon Leicester Square
Sunday 26th October, 4 pm, London Odeon Leicester Square
Genova is a story of loss, a tender look at how a family from Chicago cope with the death of their mother in a car crash. In order to make a fresh start they move to Genova, Italy, whose dark, winding streets provide a spooky backdrop in which the youngest daughter Mary (Perla Haney-Jardine), responsible for the crash, is visited by her mother from beyond the grave.
Pretty, older daughter, Kelly (Willa Holland), desperately wants to grow up, which means ditching Mary and flaunting herself to Italian boys further isolating Mary, who misses her mother dearly and faced with an increasing sense of guilt over the incident, begins to see her mother, who comes to comfort her.
The use of natural light and a handheld camera lend intimacy to Mary’s story and the effect is at times voyeuristic, closely involving us in her emotional journey. The excellent and wholly believable performances of Haney-Jardine and Colin Firth as her father, Joe, go a long way to making this film great.
Genova does have a strong sense of tension. There are huge similarities to Nicholas Roeg’s 1973 tense horror classic “Don’t Look Now”: an initial death in the family followed by a relocation to an Italian city, Venice, except here it’s the narrow alleyways and snickets of Genova that are explored. These references convinced me that a shock akin to DLN’s crazy knife-wielding woman in the red coat was just around the corner for most of the film. As the 90 minutes tick on though, I began to doubt.
It could be said that the most shocking thing is that there is no shock. When the titles run, Genova changes from a film with full-on horror potential to a warm social drama. If you’re more of a ‘minutiae of a family forced to cope with grief’ sort of person and tend to steer clear of the terror genre, then this is the film for you.
By Charlie Coffey