Aram, an accountant whose job is standing still, has had enough when he is refused yet another promotion. He comes up with a plan that involves kidnapping the daughter of his boss. Quickly things are looking up for Aram, as he is finding all the success at work and in his private life that he has been after. Until...
Adrián García Bogliano's name has grown more known by the year since we first reviewed his film "Rooms for Tourists". The same thing can be said about his talent. Bogliano has made a number of decent-to-good movies since then (I was not a fan of "Rooms for Tourists"), and even made a great movie in "Late Phases". His latest movie is a somewhat change of style, but not without its familiarities.
The movie follows Aram. His home life is in a bad place and he is getting nowhere at his job as an accountant (something which bugs his wife endlessly). Every day is a chore to get through. When Aram finally gets another chance at a promotion, he's met with the same response. No, there is no promotion coming for Aram, so he decides to take matters into his own hands. He kidnaps his boss's daughter. This eventually turns life around for Aram, but only for a little while. He thought his plan was perfect, but there is something he didn't expect.
"Scherzo Diabolico" has parts that remind you of classic exploitation movies, but there is a tone that feels closer to crime-comedies from filmmakers like the Coen brothers. The subtle comedy helps the movie keep you curious and keep it from overstaying its welcome. Halfway through (or near there), Aram's life goes from great to a disaster, and this is one of the better parts of the movie for one reason: it's intentionally funny that literally everything goes to shit.
This is a more entertaining movie from Bogliano, but there are certain aspects that keep something like "I'll Never Die Alone" as a better movie overall. It might be that despite having certain fun twists and turns, "Scherzo Diabolico" is predictable as a whole. That wouldn't matter as much if it wasn't for the fact that you feel like unpredictable turns were an important idea behind it. I did enjoy this one more than "Here Comes the Devil" and maybe also "Cold Sweat" though, but in the end it is hard to actually compare some of Bogliano's movies to each other. "Scherzo Diabolico" feels like the most different movie (after "Rooms for Tourists"). All I could really say when comparing most of his work is that "Late Phases" is by far my favorite - and I'd probably put "Scherzo Diabolico" on a split second place with "I'll Never Die Alone".
It is not an overly violent movie, but it has certain moments that you'd expect in a movie about a kidnapping. The messier violence is saved for the second half, obviously, but even then it's more a slow, exploitation-infused and dark crime comedy. I'd argue that the second half is actually funnier than the first part, but that might also be because by then you've understood that there is comedy to be found here. If you enjoy the work of Bogliano already then you will enjoy this one too. I also believe that this will serve as a good introduction to his work. At the very least, much better than my introduction ("Rooms for Tourists").