REVIEW: ‘The Turning Point’ Shines in its Simplicity

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Turning Point - But Why Tho

The Turning Point (La Svolta) is an Italian-language Netflix Original drama directed by Riccardo Antonaroli and starring Andrea Lattanzi and Brando Pacitto. When Jack (Lattanzi) steals a massive amount of cash from the local mobsters, he winds up holding Ludovico (Pacitto) hostage in his own home so he can wait out the heat and make an escape. The problem is, Ludo is a really endearing sob story, and Jack is way too nice of a guy, so their situation rapidly changes.

Much of The Turning Point is entirely predictable, following a fairly clear path from the beginning until just before the end. Ludo is pretty much house-ridden with anxiety and low self-esteem as he quietly pines after his neighbor and dreams of publishing a comic book he has more passion for than university studies. And Jack immediately proves himself a nice and caring person as he demonstrates sympathy and interest towards Ludo. It’s easy to believe that the two would become fast friends, despite the, say, awkward situation they’re in.

They have some laughs together, they learn about one another and teach valuable lessons, and both help each other grow throughout their time in confinement. Time spent with Ludo’s neighbors helps keep the movie from being too insular, even if it’s all somewhat superfluous in the end. There’s also a bit of an ongoing B plot where some of the mob’s henchmen are sent to look for Jack and continuously have no success, get another henchman killed by the boss, and engage in some banter about how terrible the boss is. Again, it’s all pretty straightforward and predictable, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good formula and makes for an enjoyable story. It’s really Ludo and Jack as a pair that helps the movie stand out.

There’s something satisfying about the lopsidedness of Jack and Ludo’s relationship. Jack doesn’t need or want any fixing. He starts the movie as a pretty good guy and ends the movie as a good person. Ludo, on the other hand, is a mess. It’s clear he wasn’t always in quite as rough a shape and that some recent trauma must have made things worse, but he definitely seems like somebody who was awkward from day one. Jack never has some grand realization that he’ll more likely survive by befriending Ludo and playing nice. He doesn’t treat Ludo poorly and then comes to regret it. He’s just nice from square one. It’s a small thing, but it’s a radically different portrayal of this type of relationship than I’m used to.

More than anything, The Turning Point’s moral is to treat everyone with respect because you never know what kind of relationship you may have. It’s not about pity or obligation. It’s just about being open to people and letting the relationship follow. The side plots with the neighbors and the henchmen demonstrate two extreme versions of what happens when you do and don’t heed this maxim. And all together, it just makes for a really sweet and enjoyable dynamic within a perfectly comfortable story. That is, until the finale.

Maybe it’s because I have anxiety myself that I spent the whole movie anticipating how it might end. Maybe it’s because the formulaic nature of it telegraphed, at the least, how the finale would set itself up. But nonetheless, the final two sequences completely shook the film’s pace and tone with excellent dramatic consequences and emotional final moments. It might be easy to find an existential or Niahlistic perspective in the conclusion, but I think that the movie that spent its first hour and fifteen minutes asking you to believe in the healing power of friendship deserves a more positive final outlook.

As somebody with anxiety who spent the whole movie just waiting for the other shoe to drop, I believe The Turning Point is meant to be a warning, not that nothing matters and people can’t change. Instead, it’s a warning that we don’t need to change to be our best selves. Being anxious makes Ludo a careful person, and being a delinquent has made Jack more careful in a different way. It’s only when they try to drop these core pieces of themselves that things take a turn. But they were lovable characters to the viewer, to each other, and people around them all along. They didn’t have to change. They can still be anxious and still be guarded and still be worthy of love.

The Turning Point is a simple, endearing movie with a strong finish and perhaps a little more to it in the end than you expect.

The Turning Point is streaming now on Netflix.


The Turning Point
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

The Turning Point is a simple, endearing movie with a strong finish and perhaps a little more to it in the end than you expect.