Couch Potato’s DVD Pickings: A Magnificent Haunting

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As its title suggests, this is a ghost story, but don’t expect any chills or scares from this Italian haunted house movie. There’s nothing scary about it. It’s a lightweight comic fantasy tale about a dreamy man who ends up sharing his flat with a troupe of dead actors.

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And that man is Pietro (Elio Germano), a wannabe actor who’s moved into a suspiciously cheap Rome apartment only to find himself sharing the space with some ghostly thespians from World War Two. Understandably, he’s not happy, but when the dramatic bunch reveal themselves to be a friendly lot with plenty of  acting tips to offer, he quickly warms to them and sets out to unravel their troubling story.

Part comedy, part fantasy, part drama, Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek’s film is driven by two story strands: the troubled Pietro’s own personal journey and the mystery of the acting troupe’s wartime demise.  Elio Germano‘s performance as Pietro is laced with comedy and offers a light counterpoint to his ghostly flatmates’ backstory. Sadly, though, the actors’ characters aren’t developed enough to give their story the impact it deserves.  Had they been, A Magnificent Haunting might have been a magnificent film. Instead, it’s a somewhat disjointed movie which feels as though it doesn’t quite know what it’s trying to be.

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A Magnificent Haunting is released on DVD on Monday 11th November.

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