In case you’re bored with your classic murder/mystery movies, here’s a breath of fresh air from Italy. The Girl in the Fog is based on a novel written by Donato Carrisi, who also wrote the script and directed the movie. It’s an interesting take on the sub-genre with a distinct atmosphere and great acting. This is one of those who-done-it-movies, with the girl disappearing in the first scene and the rest of the story following a police investigation about the case. Shot in Alto Adige, it features pretty good cinematography, especially considering this is Donato’s debut as a director.
Snow-covered mountains and an idyllic town in the middle of the Alps, seemingly still living the past, created an almost noir atmosphere. Slow-paced, The Girl in the Fog in no rush to develop the story or the characters. It meticulously weaves a complex web of deceit and mystery that’s sure to catch any interested viewers. You can feel that someone worked hard on this. They left crumbs for the viewer to find in the least expected places, as any good mystery movie should. Granted, sometimes these hints and setups around them seem clumsy or forced but these are forgivable offenses.
In the small town of Avechot, a young girl went missing. Anna Lind, 16 years old, simply vanished in the fog. Soon, the police arrive at the scene, led by a charismatic inspector Vogel. He made the headlines a couple of years earlier after a controversy regarding his actions in a serial bomber case. After the police, the media storm the place, pointing a headlight to this isolated community. As it is with all cases, time is of the utmost importance and Vogel has to act quickly if the girl is to be found. And soon he starts questioning suspects and investigating leads, desperate to find any clues as to what happened to Anna…
Filled with plot twists and a lot of jumps from storyline to storyline The Girl in the Fog can feel disjointed at times. If you’re looking for something more concise and engaging, you should temper your expectations since this is a slow-burner. It has some interesting motives worth pondering like the inevitable media circus that follows these cases. This is where the movie shines with its unusual approach, adding social commentary into the mix. Too bad they missed the opportunity to fully explore the religious aspect. It could have provided the edge that the movie needed.
Experienced Toni Servillo was great as the lead inspector Vogel along with the rest of the cast. Plus as a bonus, we get Jean Reno, who was usually good. The cast helped viewers not to get lost in the fog that covers not only the missing girl but also the story. I think that the book is a much better medium for the type of story. Mostly because the translation of this concept into a movie is a daunting task for any filmmaker. Let alone a debutant. If you would like to check out a similar movie I recommend Jagten. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorites The Nile Hilton Incident.
Director: Donato Carrisi
Writer: Donato Carrisi
Cast: Toni Servillo, Alessio Boni, Lorenzo Richelmy, Jean Reno, Greta Scacchi, Michela Cescon
Fun Facts: An Italian, German and French coproduction.