The dead won’t stay dead, that pretty girl you met loves someone else and the mayor won’t listen to you. At least you have a mentally challenged fat man and your best friend for company. Otherwise you would take that pistol you use to silence the dead and off yourself. Life feels empty and pointless. Being in charge of a cemetery doesn’t really help matters either.
Dellamorte, the film’s protagonist decides to shoot other people instead. He goes on a violent rampage that accomplishes nothing. He falls in love with a girl twice only to lose her multiple times (the same woman each being played by the gorgeous Anna Falchi). Each of the ways he loses her are cruel, existing as if they are nasty cosmic jokes being played upon poor Dellamorte. A nice old lady calls him the Engineer, a title he rejects even if it is true. This film alternates between comedy and drama, all contained within a bleak horror movie featuring plenty of ghoulish moments.
Chief among them is a bus crash resulting in dead old people and children. In a scene that is both horrific and really funny Dellamorte sits in his chair drinking wine, talking on the phone and blasting each and every one of the bus crash victims. Death comes to us all without warning and yet in this universe it is far from being the ending. Oh and it occurs to all, even those who are important and also feel important.
I love the interactions between the dour Dellamorte (Rupert Everett in an inspired and career making performance) and Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro, who is really quite funny and likable). The two have a natural rapport that makes the film work, and what happens to them forms most of the film’s darkest and most humorous moments. This film is what you get when a man-in this case Michele Soavi-spent plenty of time working with two excellent directors in Dario Argento and Terry Gilliam. I feel that this film is kind of a mix of those two’s styles, although I sense more Gilliam and less Argento.
Events continue in a circular motion and only too late does Dellamorte realize he cannot escape his fate. Or is it destiny? I’m not sure. But the ending blew my mind and I think this is a truly marvelous film. Man believes he is master of his world until someone or something proves him wrong otherwise.