I know I’m the Arty Chick, but this one is too arty for me. I’ll admit from the get-go that I’ve never been a big fan of Abel Ferrara. He’s too brutal and revels in making his audiences uncomfortable, and he peoples his films with deeply flawed men in an ugly world. Tommaso is the latest of these. Only this time, the central character is Ferrara as played by Willem Dafoe. Like Ferarra, Tomasso is a filmmaker living in Rome, married to a much younger woman (played by Ferrara’s wife), and having a hard time with his latest screenplay. His daily routine is a mix of writing, teaching some sort of improv class, his Buddhist practice, playing with his adorable little girl (played by Ferrara’s daughter), and going to AA meetings to regale the others with his tales of messing up. And that’s pretty much the whole film. Intrigued?
He’s certainly deeply flawed and early on you can see that his young wife isn’t that into him, and then he sees her with another man, though he doesn’t say anything. He’s incapable of dealing with her and scared to death of losing her. He also has serious anger issues that his Buddhist practice doesn’t seem to be helping him control. Of course it’s a fictional script, though perhaps it is how Ferrara feels about his life, but I really did not care. Dafoe is his usual great actor self, much as he was in Ferrara’s Pasolini last year. It’s a similar character and the film has the same vibe. That one left me cold too, but if it was your cup of tea, you will probably appreciate Tommaso.
It’s streaming now through virtual cinemas at Kino Marquee.