Movie Short Review: ‘Penalty’

Greetings again from the darkness. It’s a very artsy beginning. Slow motion movements by some very focused men in a barren, open field that shows no signs of city life on the horizon. There is no dialogue; only the sound effects of sportsmen grunts and feet shuffling in the dirt … after the most tension-packed ‘drawing of straws’ one is likely to see.

Italian director Also Iuliano and co-writers Alessandro Giuletti and Severino Iuliano show us what we soon figure out is a game of futbol, though we never see the ball. It’s obvious something isn’t right, as the players start sluggishly and only slowly does the aggressiveness pick up.

Halfway through the 10 minute run time, a flashback explains the initial player reticence and subsequent aggression … accompanied by the moving music from Enrico Melozzi. The desperation of these immigrants stems not just from their dreams of freedom (or at least a better life), but also from the power-trip and lack of humanity by those who take advantage of their total dependence. Cinematographer Daniel Cipri and Editor Marco Spoletini deserve special mention for the stunning look of this startlingly powerful story.

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