Quo Vadis, Baby? (2005) Poster

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A trip in the dark side of two sisters
countesscrack30 May 2005
A noir of the soul so to say. That's how I would define Salvatores' latest movie. I loved the character of Giorgia, that non-politically correct 40 years old lady who smokes, drinks, is single and tries to live through her past and fears. She's a private investigator and her hardest task is to investigate into the suicide of her sister Ada, 16 years earlier. Salvatores enters the heart of both women and let us see their dreams, fears and lies around the death of one of them. Angela Baraldi (Giorgia) is particularly brilliant and astonishing. You can't take your eyes off of her. The atmosphere is very intense and that is emphasized by the excellent soundtrack of the movie. Very poignant.
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The best ending ever & some of the best music you'll ever hear IN YOUR LIFE
rooprect23 November 2006
About the ending, don't worry I won't ruin a thing! In fact, all I'll say is it's one of the most visually creative and illuminating conclusions I've ever seen. A picture within a picture within a picture...

Now about the music. I realize I'm speaking to a very tight demographic, but if you were alive & remotely hip in the 70s, you will love the music in this movie. That goes double for Salvatores' film DENTI which he did a few years before this one. Deep Purple, Procol Harum, Ultravox, Talking Heads, and a slew of other great bands add an undeniably cool atmosphere to his films and fill you with the uncontrollable urge to go digging through your closets for those old albums that everyone has forgotten.

Why am I dwelling on music when this is a movie we're talking about? It's because the music is so indicative of the director's mastery of the material presented. We can argue all day over how clever the plot is, but I prefer to focus on presentation. And as always, Salvatores delivers right on key.

The mood is perfect. The characters are memorable & original (the lead role is a rebellious, no-nonsense, 40ish woman which would put her right smack in the middle of the 70s demographic I mentioned above), and you want to talk about visuals? The lighting alone should have won a dozen awards. It's a dark film, but notice how the characters are always vividly illuminated, with no annoying shadows or dark spots on their faces. The light source is elusive as if it's actually radiating from the actors' faces; that's how good lighting is done on the screen or in an oil painting. It's creates a very surreal and visually compelling style which Salvatores has embraced in his last 10 years of film-making, and it's what keeps me coming back for more.

As with DENTI (imo his masterpiece), this movie seems to have been mostly overlooked and largely misunderstood (note the relatively low ratings on IMDb... but since when has IMDb's ratings been representative of good taste?). But if you're a fan of modern surrealism, check it out. (By "modern surrealism", I'm not referring to Buñuel (what I call "classical absurdist surrealism") but rather Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Tom Tykwer or Jim Jarmusch--directors who create vivid, dreamlike visuals while staying rooted in a rational plot. I'd even include Hitchcock in the list.)

If any of this review struck a chord with you, then I bet you'll enjoy the movie. If, on the other hand, you're sitting there saying "wtf?" (yeah I get that a lot), then I'm pretty sure you should move on and look for another film. Good luck either way.
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Salvatores couldn't decide what to do with this movie
Dubh28 May 2005
It seems that Salvatores couldn't decide what to do with this movie: some of it is a very weak thriller (and I say very, very weak), some of it is an attempt to explore the relationships between the main characters. Both things have been tried in psychological thrillers, but in this case the movie cannot hold things together, due to poor, superficial scripting, bad acting and a too dark, too dull cinematography. I'd say that Salvatores gave his best in other genres and in other settings, where he was free to look at the characters without having to think about the plot. On the whole, a B-movie, hardly worth your money... Vote: 4/10
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we're going to the movies, that's where!
fnorful28 March 2006
Quo Vadis (Where are we going), Baby, is a pretty good contemporary noir story.

Angela Baraldi does a great job as Giorgia, the central character whose sister committed suicide many years ago. The arrival of a box full of video tapes initiates opening of old memories and old wounds. Ada is not seen as suicidal, but the holes in the story start to fill in nicely, with surprises constantly causing one to re-evaluate the "who done it" question.

Despite plot development being primary we get nicely tuned views of Giorgia, her sister Ada, their father Il Capitano and other players.

The cinematography is a bit dull, but not distracting. Even with subtitles I thought the dialog was interesting and carried forward the plot and character development.

The ending is very Indie, with surprises to be had and with some thinking to be done. Definitely worth a watch.
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OK - but all the typical Italian movies bad things
Paolo_UK13 May 2006
The movie is OK, with some good parts and a few brilliant ideas. To me, Salvatores movies are sometimes great, often OK and a few times bad. The main characteristic of this one is that it is like a manual of all the common errors, horrors and annoying things of recent Italian movies. The story starts quite well and the characters seem interesting, but it turns banal and predictable with a lot of unbelievable and uber fake situations. The movie is set in Bologna and NONE of the characters has the tiniest accent from Bologna (BTW - one of the greatest accent in Italy) -the two sisters have definite different accents, one from Rome and one from Milan As usual the actors speak in actor's school Italian (why Italian directors cant put real everyday Italian dialogue in movies??) Location are great for cinematic purposes - Bologna city center with its covered passages and Old Rome with the river and the old cobbled streets, but no middle aged stripper, or aspiring actress, or shabby private detective could afford that (why Italian directors can't show us real contemporary Italy??) And what about the brand new, sparkling clean café' kiosk right in the middle of an abandoned factory ?? And the far too many irrelevant references to all those old movies ?? And the director's trademark marijuana smoking - so annoying

I think Salvatores should decide whether he wants to do nice, joyful movies like Mediterraneo or more real and tough movies about real and tough contemporary Italy like Io non ho paura, because every time he tries something in the middle results are disappointing
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A Nutshell Review: Quo Vadis, Baby?
DICK STEEL14 June 2009
While I had very much enjoyed the film last night, Quo Vadis, Baby? was one that didn't really live up to expectations. To be fair I was benchmarking it with arguable one of the more renowned Gialli films out there in What Have You Done to Solange? but even on its own it didn't have too engaging a plot and felt more like a romance drama rather than an out and out Gialli film with murder, mystery and a chunk of exploitation thrown in.

Like your classic investigative noir film, we start with a private investigator, a female one in Giorgia Cantini (Angela Baraldi) who's in her 40s and a spinster feeling really miserable from her lack of love life, and haunted by the fact that her good looking older sister Ada (Claudia Zanella) had committed suicide many years back. Giorgia decided to finally re-open that investigations on her own because she had received a box full of VHS tapes, in what would be a confessional series as recorded by her sister. Back then blogs were unheard of, and keeping a diary is unhip, so the next best thing is to do what Paris Hilton does - record on film every little sordid detail of her life.

This of course proved to be invaluable wealth of information to an investigator, but for Giorgia it's something like becoming a voyeur into her pretty sister's life many years back, who as an aspiring actress won't think twice in using her physique to advantage, sleeping with anyone who could give her a role, and dabbling in plenty of vices, all of which dutifully documented. The mystery for Giorgia is to discover who "A" is referred to, possibly holding the key to her sister's death.

Quo Vadis, Baby? is like a film within a film, one which takes place in the present, and the other in the past, thanks to plenty of sitting through of those tapes that you'll begin to feel like a priest in a confession box. This technique of flashbacks take up almost half the time of the film, but offering no new revelation other than Ada being a cheap slut who probably deserved what she got. There's little worked on gaining your sympathy for the character, or empathy for Giorgia in living through such pain of discovering naughty details of a deceased sibling.

Complicating matters of course is Giorgia's messy love life, included so that some flesh could be shown in order for this film to join the ranks of the Gialli genre, which in some ways the romantic portion of the film stood out a lot more with its romantic themes, rather than knowing it had a mystery to resolve. And when it finally got down to doing so, it lacked some real punch as you can get ahead with its limited number of characters to guess from, and limped very much to the ending no thanks again to convenience and almost implausible odds.

Definitely not something I would recommend to anyone new to the genre, especially when there are other gems available which are more than worth its time.
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davidtraversa-112 December 2008
Just yesterday I saw "Io non ho paura", from this Italian director (Salvatores), and I wrote a commentary saying that it was one of the best movies I've ever seen.

That's why today I picked up another movie from the same director, "Quo Vadis Baby", but this time I'm afraid I must say this one is one of the worse movies I've ever saw.

Why this dichotomy from one and the same man? Making movies is a very difficult task. Nobody makes a movie thinking that he/she is making a bad movie of course. One thinks that the new movie will be the best ever.

But in the way something goes awry --nobody knows exactly what-- and the picture is ruined. Like making a soufflé. Hit or miss. Well, more was lost (from the Spanish point of view, of course) with the Cuban war --Spain versus USA back in the 19th century--, but in this particular case, I lost a couple of precious hours that will never recoup again.

All the ingredients were there, good actors, good camera work, good everything --good direction!!-- but the patient was dead.

But I wont give up! no siree..., they have another three titles by this director at the Dante Alighieri Mediateca here in Buenos Aires, and I will see them all, no matter what.

Maybe one of the other titles is as good as "Io non ho paura" and that will be worth the effort.

See this movie anyhow, it induces a very pleasant dozing effect.
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Good Noir lacking an unexpected ending
DegustateurDeChocolat14 February 2013
I would say that "Quo Vadis Baby?" is a good movie for different reasons. First of all the setting: Bologna, an Italian medieval city that, with its tiny streets and arches, is the right city where to set a Noir movie. Plus the photography is good, delivering the idea of a gloomy atmosphere both in the outdoor scenes and in the indoor ones. A change in the light of the photography can be noted when the main character, Giulia goes to Rome to investigate about her Sister's death, giving the idea of a city that could give her some straight answers to her doubts. The characters are well developed and credible and the plot is nicely built since it gives little by little hints to the viewer of the future development and about the possible culprit. However I would have expected a more unexpected ending and this is the main flaw of this movie.
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