Movie Review: Intrigo: Death of an Author

John Thomas

A large weighted object is pushed over the side of a small boat drifting on the surface of a shimmering teal-blue sea. A man slowly hikes a rocky, crumbling path through the bleak landscape of a remote Greek island. The man, David (Benno Fürmann), is a literary translator/writer, hoping to find the isolated home of the once famous author Henderson (Ben Kingsley).

David wants to interview him regarding a translation he is doing on a book by a deceased famous author who was a colleague of Henderson at one time. He also seeks advice and suggestions from Henderson regarding a manuscript of his own.

He finally reaches the spacious Greek villa and introduces himself. On the villa’s shaded terrace, the two men share conversations and drinks, while occasionally gazing down at the distant sparkling sea.

David reads passages from his own book as Henderson, now presently at the kitchen window, listens. He offers occasional caustic comments while preparing snacks and pouring more  drinks.

As the afternoon wears on, David begins to recognize similarities between his own story, from which he is reading, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the famous author. He is said to have committed suicide by drowning, although no one knows for certain as the body was not recovered.

In David’s story, the wife mysteriously disappears – without a body found. In the famous author’s book, the husband mysteriously disappears, also without a body found. With no evidence and no bodies, both investigations are discontinued, the two cases remain unsolved and no further inquiries are made – at least not by the police.

David seems not as interested in Henderson’s advice on his own proposed literary work but in gaining information from the latter as to the circumstances and disappearance of the famous author. During the course of their lengthy conversation, the sunlight may begin to fade but not David’s interest in the conversation and the information he is gathering.

Henderson decides it’s time to prepare dinner – and pour more drinks. He becomes slightly unsteady in the process. As the evening continues, David has become increasingly convinced he now knows what happened to the famous author. Curiously enough, the two stories closely parallel one another.

It is time to leave. David thanks Henderson for his time, the information he gave and the lovely afternoon together. Just before departing, however, David pauses briefly in the kitchen on his way out of the villa. Later, sitting on a rock some distance from the house, he watches the sky darken and then light from the dwelling. He stands, turns and walks away with the answers he was seeking, ones that he cannot reveal. Soon, however, there will be a new question for him to answer.

Directed by Daniel Alfredson (Credits:  Kidnapping Mr. Heineken,  The Girl Who Played With Fire) Intrigo is a “should see” movie that runs 106 minutes.


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