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Review: 'The Unknown Woman'

An unstable concoction of political melodrama, film noir, and weepie.

By Peter Rainer / May 31, 2008



The Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore is best known for the overrated "Cinema Paradiso," with its too-cute bambino and its overweening ardor for the magic of movies. "The Unknown Woman" is tonally quite different from that weepie, although Tornatore is no better at darkness than sunniness.

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Irena (Ksenia Rappoport), an Eastern European emigrant with a sordid and brutal past that we gradually become aware of, insinuates herself into the life of a northern Italian couple with a young child. She has an emotional void to fill and boy, does she fill it.

Rappoport is a powerhouse performer but the movie is an unstable concoction of political melodrama, film noir, and weepie. Grade: C+. (Not rated.)

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