A calculation used by insurers to assess the monetary worth of a life cut short, 'Human Capital' questions the material and emotional value of both the living and the dead as it weaves a tangled web of greed, lust and death. The film traces the financial and emotional entanglement of two Italian families; one bloated by the profits of lucrative hedge-funds, the other led by a modest estate agent who dreams of bigger things. Their relationship unravels around the onset of the financial crisis and the mysterious hit-and-run death of a local waiter, ultimately revealing both the financial and moral bankruptcy of each family.
Empty and muddled
- Human Capital review by Alphaville
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It must have been a thin year when this won best film at the 2014 Italian Golden Globes. Chapter 1: An estate agent gets out of his depth in a loss-making investment fund. Chapter 2: we see the whole scenario again from the fund manager’s wife’s point of view. After an hour, all this becomes irrelevant in Chapter 3, when the estate agent’s daughter takes centre stage and we get a plot about a cyclist being killed in a hit-and-run accident.
Human Capital? That’s a calculation used by insurers and has nothing to do with the film until we get an explanation as the credits roll. The film’s repeated scenes as the chapters are replayed could have been interesting if the different characters’ points of view were connected or held any interest. Instead it’s a muddled and undeveloped exercise that goes nowhere.