NOISES OFF | The Consequences of Love

The silence in Sorrentino’s thriller is most interesting when it fails. By Louis Rogers

 

 

Titta Di Giralomo, the enigmatic protagonist of Paolo Sorrentino’s The Consequences of Love, has a simple way of handling unwanted questions: stony, uncompromising silence. Sometimes he stays to watch his interrogator wither into cringing repentance; other times he turns on a brogued heel and leaves them standing slack-jawed. It’s hard not to envy his efficiency. This tactic is extended to Sofia, a bartender at the hotel in which he lives, after she shows an empathetic curiosity in him. During a tentative affair, it’s Sofia who finally calls time on his silent act: “Stop giving me this mute performance,” she demands. “It doesn’t always work.”

The Consequences of Love is spectacular then reticent then spectacular again; its stylish camera moves, dramatic set pieces and pulsing score are interspersed with still faces and drifting silence. Titta’s own silence extends into the placid silence of his life – conducted to a sparse and strict routine within the walls of a tranquil Swiss hotel. All this quiet quickly suggests mystery and intrigue. But sometimes, like Sofia says, it comes across more like a performance of mystery: it doesn’t always work. That’s when it gets interesting.

Titta’s quietness suggests brooding self-possession – never more so than when he’s disinclined to talk to someone. But once we learn more about the mysteries that it accurately implies, it starts to take on a different character. Titta is trapped in a network of threats and obligations that keep him exactly where he is, restricting him into inertia and inarticulacy. They have stolen his life, he says; he might as well say his voice. The depths beneath Titta’s silence run deeper and more existentially painful than we first suppose. Finally, his silence is characterised as cowardice. Titta is the only one who can choose whether or not to break it. 

 

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