A Pure Formality

1994 Drama | Suspense/Thriller

The sweet sentimental gauze of director Giuseppe Tornatore's international hit Cinema Paradiso (1988) is nowhere to be found in this dark, Kafkaesque crime thriller that takes place, stage play-style, mostly in the confines of one room. Gerard Depardieu stars as Onoff, a famed author who has become a recluse in recent years, publishing nothing. Late one night he is picked up by police officers, who find him running across the French countryside in the rain, breathless and apparently suffering from short-term memory loss. A murder has been committed in the nearby woods, and suspecting Onoff's involvement, the authorities detain him at a leaky, dark command post to await the arrival of an inspector (Roman Polanski), ironically a fan of Onoff's work, who will interrogate his subject and try to arrive at the truth. Una Pura Formalita (1994) was produced simultaneously with Polanski's Death and the Maiden (1994), another film with a stage-bound quality featuring a long, stormy night's interrogation in a single room.~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide