Roberto Ando’s melodrama, “Viaggio Segreto” [Eng. Title: Secret Journey] attempts to achieve a lot. It’s ambitious in its scope but somehow fails to get there, and that’s mainly because the story isn’t fully developed. There is plenty of suspense, and it also builds up like a thriller, but nothing nearly substantial emerges towards the end.
I think Ando visualised grand scenarios and tried to patch-up a story around it. There’s the haunting imagery of the protagonist recollecting events from the past as he walks through his forlorn childhood home, and the tense but deeply loving relationship between brother and sister pointing to a common harrowing past. All this is fine, but when it gets to explaining what happened, it falls way short. The film by itself is beautiful to watch, the cinematography is sumptuous, even if I have reservations with the lighting, Marco Betta’s soundtrack is mesmerising, and the Billie Holiday song has been used effectively to recreate the brooding atmosphere. And of course, the film is filled with well dressed (and undressed) beautiful people. Shame – it had the potential to be a great film! But I must admit the film lingers in your mind long after the credits, and at least for that, this is Recommended Viewing!
Leo, a psychoanalyst in Rome, receives a letter from the priest in his childhood town in Sicily, about his family home being put up for sale. The last time he was there, he was a thirteen year old boy, and his sister Ale, seven. They left Sicily after her mother gets killed under strange circumstances, and the father is imprisoned for manslaughter. The letter brings back memories and he decides to pay a visit after twenty years, with the intention of perhaps even making an alternative offer to the estate agent. The visit will open up dark secrets hidden away in Leo’s consciousness and bring it to the fore. The same happens to Ale, as they finally come to terms with their past.