Benzina review

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Stella (Maya Sansa) and Lenni (Regina Orioli) are young lovers happily running a gas station at the fringes of Italian society. Then events take a turn for the worse, Stella accidentally killing Lenni's visiting mother. The pair decide to dump the body and spend most of the movie trying to do just that, driving from one predicament to the next.

Monica Stambrini's feature debut draws heavily from Thelma&Louise, but Benzina is no female-bonding buddy movie. The primary emotion here is one of doom, the protagonists going glumly about their business. `Ordinary' society is represented by a sour priest, a youth fed downers from an early age and a pack of teens who want to kill the girls for keying their car. It's not, safe to say, a laugh riot.

Instead, it's emotionally cold, the all-pervading despairmaking it hard to care for anyone. The pointless stylistic touches don't help either, Stambrini's fondness for noir visuals proving unconvincing, the bursts of camcorder footage feeling clichéd. Benzina may translate as `Gas', but this film is running on empty.

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