- Movie Rating -

The Tale of King Crab (2022)

| April 15, 2022



Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis’ The Tale of King Crab opens with a moment that I found completely inviting.  We’re in Tuscia in the company of a group of grizzled Italian fisherman, their faces weathered as much by the storms of life as by the elements of mother nature.  They are here to drink, have a bite to eat and to swap stories – not personal stories, mind you, but mythological tales.  We don’t do this anymore.  People in groups these days are too bound up in discussing politics and personal inconveniences.  Spinning tales as old as time seems to have gone out of fashion.

The tale being told is quite wonderful.  It takes place not too far from Tuscia in a small village of Vejano near the opening of the 20th Century.  The central figure is Luciano (Gabriele Silli, who bears an odd resemblance to Michael Shannon), a sweaty, bearded drunk who returns after many years to this small town where his father is the local doctor.  He doesn’t make any friends, let’s just say, upon his return.  First, and without a reasonable explanation, he smashes open the front gate of the local prince (Enzo Cucchi).  Then he falls in love with the daughter of a respected farmer (Severino Sperandio) whose anger over the presence of this man is bad enough, but his fury over his apparent affections for his child are crossing the line.  Then we find out that there is a competitor – the prince himself has designs on marrying Emma not really for love, we suspect, but for the opportunities afforded by the union.  Much is too much and Luciano makes a decision that land him in exile on the god-forsaken island Patagonia.

Luciano’s tale at this point kind of takes a left-turn.  After being exiled to the island where he takes on the identity of a now-dead priest whose company he shared.  The priest told him of a treasure that was left on the island by pirates and the only way to get it is to follow the footsteps of the king crab.  He goes in search of the king crab, carrying the bulky crustacean in a bucket.  Then he runs across a group of thieves looking to pilfer the legendary treasure for themselves.  They want it for greed, Luciano wants it because it might be a way off this stinking island.

I like where this movie has its head.  It is slow-going, but it is one of those movies in which you are completely and totally engrossed at every single moment.  It reminded me somewhat of Cast Away wherein we are asked to simply observe.  There isn’t a ton of dialogue so we are asked to watch and see.  It feels like a story being told and you can imagine many different variations as the story is eroded and hones and sculpted by years of telling and telling and re-telling.  It is that movie with a quality of holding you in its spell and telling a story that you know you’ll hear differently the next time.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Drama, Foreign