Cast: Ben Kingsley, Benno Furmann, Tuva Novotny, Michael Byrne
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Have you ever watched a movie that had the potential to do something truly interesting but got in the way of its own success? Well, that’s almost exactly what Intrigo: Death of an Author will be remembered for. It’s a movie so obsessed with being the smartest thing in the room that it ends up forgetting the basic elements of filmmaking and storytelling. While it does have moments of creativity and ingenuity, Intrigo: Death of an Author is much more focused on trying to stand out and fails to provide something cohesive and comprehensible for the 106 minute runtime.
The film follows David (Furmann), an author who visits Henderson (Kingsley), a more well-received author, for advice and feedback on David’s upcoming book. As David begins to tell his story, we see a more direct correlation between his work of fiction and the events in David’s life that inspired them. As David reveals more and more information, we see a reason why David chose to visit Henderson in the first place and the consequences of both of their actions. While this premise could create an environment of suspense and intrigue in a fair amount of movies in this genre, Intrigo: Death of an Author fails to establish a general foundation before getting into the more complex details of the movie. This movie tries so hard to outsmart its audience that it can’t get its story straight before getting into the real drama that comes with a thriller like this. To provide a real-life example, Intrigo: Death of an Author is the veganism of crime dramas. It’s so preoccupied with wanting to feel important that it takes no consideration as to what the audience is looking to get from it. When you have a talented actor like Kingsley starring in a major role, at the very least you should have something for the audience to look forward to, but his presence is underutilized even though it is rewarding when we do see him. Exclusively on paper, Intrigo: Death of an Author had all the potential in the world to rise up and do something special, but the movie is just too unorganized and unfounded to pick itself up and get going. It jumps from one idea to the next with little idea of where it really wants to go. I’m usually pretty lenient of crime dramas since I believe they have to take more risks than usual to stand out, but in this case it doesn’t come close to paying off. Apparently Intrigo: Death of an Author already had two sequels get released, so let’s hope those iterations cleaned up the issues that were found here. I admittedly don’t know much about the source material that this movie originates from, but I have to believe that this movie did a complete disservice to the author’s work and needed to be reworked before showing us this would-be final project. Even as a stream, Intrigo: Death of an Author is a chore to get through and not something a casual viewer would go out of their way to pick up.
Overall, Intrigo: Death of an Author plays like an amateur author trying to find a way to insert himself into the discussion of why he’s one of the best writers of the generation. Unfortunately for him, some of our dreams don’t come into fruition and this is a clear example of a project not being fine-tuned enough for the general public. I don’t know what other movies Alfredson’s made before this, but I hope he can recognize what went wrong and start planning future movies with that feedback in mind.
Overall Score: 3/10