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Face of an Angel, The


Stars: Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delavingne, Ava Acres, John Hopkins, Genevieve Gaunt, Peter Sullivan, Sai Bennett, Alistair Petrie, Rosie Fellner

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Plainly based on the headline-hitting Kercher/Knox murder case (and acknowledged as such at the end), Winterbottom's lurid yet bloodless film focuses on a screenwriter/director (Brühl) hired to make a movie script based on the subject.

For some reason, the case drives the sensitive, cocaine-sniffing scribe nuts; he starts having violent dreams connected with the murder, in which he is shown the victim's heart, or is devoured by monsters.

Though scruffy and clearly disturbed, the writer still has no trouble bedding the author (Beckinsale) of a book about the case the instant she tells him she's separated, before latching on to a student/bar girl (Delavingne in a promising debut) who introduces him to others connected with the case.

Although quite compelling to begin with, the film gets progressively less interesting as it goes on; one of the problems is that Brühl is such a depressingly unsympathetic character, another that, with no resolution in sight, the film begins to ramble - on a sightseeing tour of Italy.

Though it's clear where the director's sympathies lie, his film adds little to what most will already know about this notorious affair.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Soda (BBC Films). Colour (unspecified).
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Mar 2015