Adaptation of the novel by Stephen Amidon that was already made into a movie in 2014 by Italian Paolo Virzi, the film tells three stories connected with a violent traffic accident. With Liev Schreiber, Marisa Tomei, Peter Sarsgaard and Maya Hawke. By TNT, starting Monday, December 21 at 10 p.m.
In a curious twist, Stephen Amidon’s novel THE HUMAN CAPITAL which was first made into a film in Italy by Paolo Virzí in 2014 (see review here) “Returns” to the United States in this new adaptation that brings the action back to its home country. Meyers movie (MY FRIEND DAHMER) is announced as an adaptation, at the same time, of Virzí’s novel and film, which surely complicates things a bit more. But the plot, with a few minor tweaks, is still pretty much the same. It is a panoramic look, through three related stories, at a case in which money, power and crime are mixed.
As was also the case in the Italian film, Meyers brought together a great cast to lead each of the parts of the story that goes back and forth on the axis on a night in which, accidentally, a car ran into a cyclist in the middle of a dark route and continued on without stopping, something that is seen in the scene that opens the film. The questions that the film asks are two: who was behind the wheel? And how was that instance reached?
The film is less concerned with the crime itself than with what that means and the power and money plot behind it. HUMAN CAPITAL –Game of double meanings between the cold technocratic expression and the real consequences that money has on the life and death of real natural persons– little by little put together a puzzle that tries to uncover class and generational clashes within three (or up to four) families.
Drew (Liev Schreiber) is a real estate agent, a “recovered” gambler who has a somewhat rebellious teenage daughter named Shannon (Maya Hawke) who is dating Jamie (Fred Hechinger), the son of a millionaire and rather pedantic investor. named Quint (Peter Sarsgaard). One day, when Drew leaves his daughter at her boyfriend’s house, the man has no better idea than to ask Quint (whom he did not know in person) to participate in some of his investments. The 500 thousand dollars that the man asks as a floor to be part of one of these funds is much more money than he has. And he must go into debt to get them, putting his financial stability at risk (he is married for a second nuptials and his wife has just announced that she is pregnant with twins) and, fundamentally, emotionally.
When the financial situation becomes difficult and the story goes through the fateful night of the accident, the script – written by fellow director Oren Moverman – will go back in time to tell the perspective of Carrie (Marisa Tomei), Quint’s troubled wife, a Former depressive actress who cannot cope with her life and who sees that her dream of buying an old theater and renovating it does not seem to be coming to fruition but that, at the same time, an unexpected personal encounter awaits her.
The same structure will be repeated with the return in time but this time to tell what happened from the place of Shannon, whose relationship with Jamie is not as clear as it is believed and who also becomes entangled in an adventure with Ian (Alex Wolff), a boy with a troubled record. Between story and story, what the viewer should also pay attention to is to see through which hands the car is passing that we saw the cyclist hit in the first scene and that we do not know who was driving.
Meyers uses, anyway, the accident as McGuffin Hitchcokiano and as a metaphor about control and how that can disappear in an instant. Although the story has already been taken to the cinema again, this time it feels a bit rushed, as if summarizing in brief brush strokes stories and characters that deserved a little more development time. Virzi’s film lasted 13 minutes longer than this one and perhaps that ends up playing against this version. One could imagine it calmly narrated in a miniseries format that perhaps would allow the characters to “breathe” a little better and that would not be defined only from a couple of strokes, as it happens in some cases.
To cover those difficulties of a script that does not know very well whether to bet more on personal drama than on police mystery, HUMAN CAPITAL It has an extraordinary cast that improves the material at all times. Schreiber is pure nerve and anxiety in the most complicated role of all, a man who seems to have good intentions but is getting into matters that are too big for him. Tomei, meanwhile, offers one of the darkest characters of his career in the role of this woman disenchanted with her life. Hawke – whose face is the same as his mother Uma Thurman – also tries to add an extra quota of complexity to his somewhat more simplistic character as a complicated teenager.
It is a correct, minor film that does not quite live up to the expectations generated by the adaptation and, more than anything, the cast. The Italian version was not a masterpiece but it found a better way to put together the various dramatic and narrative pieces of this puzzle. If you saw that one, this version is not very new. If they didn’t, HUMAN CAPITAL fulfills the task of tidily carrying out a complicated story about how the search for money, recognition and social status can corrupt anyone. And that finally proves again that those who pay the price always have the least.
TNT Original premieres CAPITAL HUMANO on Monday, December 21, at 10 pm, on TNT.
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Premieres: Criticism of “Human Capital”, by Marc Meyers (TNT)