by Mark Wilshin
Fictionally based on the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher (and dedicated to her), Michael Winterbottom’s The Face Of An Angel is his most experimental and self-referential film to date. Part horror film with echoes of Genova or Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now within the labyrinthine streets of Siena – “the dark belly of the beast”, the film is also an analysis of artistic endeavour – dramatising the attempts of film director Thomas (Daniel Brühl) to write a screenplay based on the trial and structured around Dante’s Divine Comedy. Increasingly mired in cocaine and terrifying nightmares, Thomas nevertheless keeps a watchful eye on the press and the commercial angles that influence the sides they take. But it’s also a satirical film about getting films made and a lyrical tribute to a father’s relationship with his daughter, uncovering in the film’s own words a universal truth about life beneath the perplexing contradictions of the court case. Whether it’s Winterbottom laying his soul bare or a postmodern reworking of traditional film structure, The Face Of An Angel makes for a unique if unrewarding experience – faceted into moments of brilliance and dark shadows.
The Face Of An Angel is showing on Oct 18th & 19th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival