The best part of the story takes too long to develop, and when it finally does it dissolves far too quickly.
Alicia Scherson’s Il Futuro (The Future) is an adaptation of a Chilean novel by Roberto Bolano about two recently orphaned siblings that must find a way to make it on their own. Their uncertain future is the backbone of the story as they come across some bizarre adventures that require difficult moral decisions. Balancing nicely with the drab visual overtones are the instances of tragedy that pop up throughout the film. However, the best part of the story takes too long to develop, and when it finally does it dissolves far too quickly.
Bianca (Manuela Martelli) Tomas (Luigi Ciardo) are two siblings who have just recently lost their parents due to a fatal car accident. The two are only able to inherit their father’s pension, which is barely enough to provide food, so Bianca must take up a job at a hair salon and Tomas works at a gym (though it’s more like volunteering in exchange to use the machines for free). Tomas befriends a couple of male co-workers at the gym who end up convincing Bianca to rob a former Mister Universe and movie star who goes by his stage name Marciste (Rutger Hauer). He is an easy target because he is now blind, retired, and living alone in his crumbling mansion.
The original plan was for Bianca to first gain the trust of Marciste by seducing him, and then find the safe he uses to store all of his money. However, a strange friendship is formed between the two unlikely pair instead. Perhaps their bond was formed because they both have flawed vision due to car accidents; Marciste cannot see at all and Bianca can barely handle light because a psychological condition. In the end she must decide which is more important, the newfound relationship with Marciste or his money.
It is easy to draw comparisons between Il Futro and the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast—a young and beautiful girl falls in love with a wealthy reclusive man whose imperfection in this case is not being able to see—a tragedy considering her physical beauty. The film also pays homage to classic cinema as a whole, most noticeable with Marciste’s backstory of being a famous Hollywood actor from the 60’s.
One aspect of Il Futuro that could be considered both a blessing and a curse are the various directions the film spirals off to. There is an overall case of tragedy from start to finish, but what begins as more of a coming of age story, gets interrupted by sporadic and brief eroticism, film noir, and criminal components. Not to mention that the film feels entirely different when it is spent trapped inside the decaying mansion, a seemingly enchanted atmosphere compared to the more modern slice of life outside of it. This variety of elements in of itself would not be such a bad thing if in the end it all added up to something more remarkable. Unfortunately, the ending is so anticlimactic that it deflates much of what came before it.