The Unknown Woman

2006 [ITALIAN]

Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Ángela Molina Photo
Ángela Molina as Lucrezia
Claudia Gerini Photo
Claudia Gerini as Valeria Adacher
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.08 GB
Italian 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 0 min
P/S ...
2.23 GB
Italian 5.1
23.976 fps
2 hr 0 min
P/S 1 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jotix1007 / 10

The Russian woman

Irena, who arrives in Trieste, with what appears to be a lot of cash, looking for an apartment where to live; she chooses a dilapidated place that offers an advantage: from its windows, she can spy on the building across the square. In order to gain access, Irina bribes the janitor into getting work as a maid. She seeks Gina, a woman who works for a couple that make jewelry in their spacious apartment. It is clear Irena has something else in mind, and couldn't care less for Gina.

When Gina suffers an accident, Irena applies for the position, and surprise, surprise, she gets it. The rapport with the little girl Tea becomes apparent. Valeria Adacher, the lady of the house warns her about Tea, who has what appears to be a neurological condition that makes her fall and cannot get up by herself. She also tells her not to enter her workshop ever. Irina spots the safe where the jewelry is kept. Naturally, one assumes then, her interest in gaining access to the house is to steal, but no, she has something else in mind, as we watch her going over some papers that are kept locked up. Valeria and her husband, Donato, seem not to be a happy couple. They are heard loudly arguing in the background by the maid, so all is not right in their home.

Irina and Tea form a tight bond, something that Valeria notices right away. The maid wants to teach the girl how to overcome her handicap, and to this end, she ties Tea and pushes her to the mattresses on the floor and coaxes her into getting up using her technique. In our minds we begin wondering if there is more in Irena's attitude toward Tea because it is a rare thing for a house maid to become so involved in making better someone that is not even related to her.

In flashbacks we get to know a little bit of Irena's past. She has been turned into a prostitute by Italian criminals who import these poor girls from Russia. She meets a young man who seems to love her. Since she is what she is, this lover, is made to disappear by Mold, the vicious man that controls her. Irena discovers where he has stashed his cash and tries to kill Mold with scissors, but unknown to her, he survives. Mold has a way of turning up when he is least expected.

Things turn out wrong for Irena when Valeria discovers her dark secret. She fires her and forbids her to go near Tea. Unfortunately, Valeria dies in an automobile accident for which Irena is accused of masterminding. At the same time, things about the mystery surrounding the Russian woman are revealed. In her trial, she is convicted and sent to prison. As the film concludes, we see an older Irena who is released after serving time and as she waits for a bus, who would show up to meet her?

Giuseppe Tornatore, the talented Italian director of the hugely popular "Cinema Paradiso" and "Malena", just to mention two of his previous films, makes us get involved with this complex story. Working with his collaborator, Massimo DeRita, he has created a multi layered melodrama that involves the viewer. The only problem is that many things are not completely explained. Thus, there is a hint that Donato Adacher has a lot to do in the story, although his participation is a subtle one. The other mystery is Gina, who for all appearances dies in the accident, but later is seen at the nursing home in a catatonic state, but is she really? The idea that Mold can survive the stabbing is hard to digest, after all, it's a big stretch of the imagination to think he can still be around after what Irena does to him. Mr. Tornatore is obviously playing with the viewer in making him believe to look at things a certain way, while he is deceiving our perception of the plot. If all that is superfluous, then the viewer is going to have a great time.

Best of all in the film is Ksenia Rappoport, who plays Irena convincingly. She runs away with the film. Ms. Rappoport pulls us into the story without doing much. Claudia Gerini's Valeria is also an asset in the film. Alessandro Haber who plays the janitor has some excellent moments. Michele Placido is seen as the obnoxious criminal Mold. Margherita Buy, one of the best Italian actresses working these days puts in an appearance at the last part of the film. Finally, Clara Dossena makes a valuable contribution as Tea, the sweet child in the story.

The musical score by the master of all movie composers, Ennio Morricone, will stay in our minds for a while. Fabion Zamarion's impeccable cinematography makes a great impression. We await Mr. Tornatore's next film impatiently.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle7 / 10

good suspenseful mystery

Irena (Kseniya Rappoport) is a mystery woman obsessed with getting the nanny job with a particular family. She bribes the building's manager to clean the common area. She befriends the family's nanny and then she even trips her down the stairs to her death. Valeria Adacher, her daughter Thea, and husband Donato have a secret safe in their apartment. Thea is pushed around at school and Irena uses unconventional measures to toughen her. In the continuing flashbacks, Irena is an Ukrainian prostitute who finds love with a young man. That past is never far from her mind and comes back to harass her.

This is a movie precious with its ultimate reveal. It does a great job creating some misdirections. It lasts a bit too long. The reveal should come sooner allowing a more compelling action thriller third act. It's a compelling mystery for the first hour. The sex slave montage does get repetitive and possibly reveals too much. This could be a more compelling thriller if it's tighter.

Reviewed by Coventry6 / 10

Misleading but nevertheless compelling and stylish film

"The Unknown Woman" is a peculiar and nearly unclassifiable film from Italy; usually my favorite movie-producing country when it comes to thrillers, horror and cult movies. The plot slowly unfolds like a grim and mystifying thriller with authentic Giallo and sleaze aspects, but gradually turns into an overly sentimental drama with a disappointing soap-opera denouement. Not that this is a bad film (how can it be with all the prestigious awards it received?) but if you were hoping for a perplexing thriller, your hunger will not be stilled. Giuseppe Tornatore, the director of the legendary "Cinema Paradiso", presents an extremely convoluted and oddly structured story, but shares only very little information with the viewer. "The Unknown Woman" remains a labyrinth until quite late in the film, and then still you remain behind with a whole lot of questions and illogicalness. The events jump back and forth between the curious mission of a Ukrainian woman in Italy and the traumatizing adventures of a blond-wigged prostitute in a pauperized neighborhood. It honestly takes a little while before you're a hundred percent certain this is one and the same person. But yes, the elegant and sophisticated 32-year-old Irena apparently spent most of her teenage years and twenties in the East-European sex industry. She now attempts to infiltrate as a governess/maid in a wealthy Italian household, but it's not immediately clear why. She clearly doesn't need the money, as she has a roll of cash in her pocket and promptly affords herself an apartment and driving lessons, but nevertheless she's desperate enough to even assault the current nanny in order to take her place in the Adacher family. Approximately halfway through, the attentive viewer begins to suspect where the main storyline is leading towards, but then there still are plenty enough bizarre twists to keep you contemplating. It would be a shame to reveal too much beforehand, but rest assured the questions and doubts will keep coming to you long after the film has finished as well. Purely talking from a cinematic point of view, "The Unknown Woman" is an enchanting and ultimately stylish experiment. Tornatore creates a hypnotizing melancholic atmosphere through slow pacing and depressing imagery (there are hardly any colors in this film) and Ennio Morricone once more proved that he's still the world's greatest composer of chilling film music; even at age 78. Wondrous performances from lead actresses Xenia Rappoport and Claudia Gerini and particularly from Michele Placido as the genuinely menacing and terrifying bald pimp Muffa.

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