Genova (15)

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The Independent Culture

There's an awful lot of bereavement in cinema this week. In Michael Winterbottom's latest, Colin Firth plays a US-based academic who loses his wife in a car accident and takes his two daughters to Genoa, where he hopes to heal their grieving spirits.

Winterbottom, forswearing a plot, attempts to get by on atmosphere alone, and gives the narrow, shadowy streets of the ancient town a supporting part. For the rest it's a loosely improvised meander through Italy's bella vita – sunbathing, eating, romancing – with a sideline on Firth's younger daughter's visions of her dead mother. It is absolutely inconsequential, and (in time) mildly annoying. I suspect the director was aiming for a sun-blessed version of Don't Look Now, but his ghost story conjures neither suspense nor intrigue.