In this busy diner there is a table where a man with a black book sits. In fact, he never seems to leave THE PLACE. People come and go. Some sit at his table. Usually the ones who have something to ask for. The man with a black book can make any wish come true. But will you be ready to pay the price?
There’s one thought that occurred to me when I started watching THE PLACE – its set up is so simple and effective, why didn’t I think of it? But with one great idea at its core it’s the writing that makes THE PLACE a great movie.
Written and directed by Paoblo Genovese, whose latest movie PERFECT STRANGERS (read my review here) made a big splash last year, is interested in the psychology of his characters, their set of values and how they distinguish right from wrong with their backs against the wall. With the fantastical premise of THE PLACE it's amazing how relatable the situations and the people of the movie are with their daily problems and grievances.
THE PLACE is not a thriller, it’s a drama about human nature. Set in one location of a busy Italian bistro where multiple characters come and go, their stories unravel through dialogue. Each and every one of them have to perform a task to have their wish granted. The more difficult the wish the harder the task. The Man has to check his black book each time someone comes with a wish and the black book will reveal the task. Little by little the connection between the characters emerge. Who is the man who grants the wishes? Good, evil? The master of fate? And if there’s any wish the wishmaster wants to come true, what would it be?
With its nuanced performances and clever writing THE PLACE creates a genre of its own. Perfectly balancing the mystery and the drama elements it explores human nature in a manner that is both engaging and satisfying.