October 24, 2023

THE GOLDSMITH: A Twisted Tale of Comeuppance

2022 / 89 min
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

What exactly is torture porn, anyway?

The term is certainly subjective. Personally, I think films like Hostel qualify, since it exploits the gory, agonizing deaths of hapless characters who simply happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Conversely, I don’t believe the Saw franchise constitutes torture porn because the underlying theme behind the nasty gore and elaborate traps is poetic justice. Jigsaw’s victims are (mostly) terrible people who deserve a violent reckoning, which renders the prolonged death scenes a tad less sadistic.

So as gleefully twisted as it gets, The Goldsmith is not torture porn. The prologue establishes its three main characters as coldblooded and irredeemable since childhood. As the story itself unfolds, they’re planning the home invasion and robbery of an elderly couple’s secluded home, where the husband, Antonio, designs high-end jewelry. 

Some folks take ping pong pretty seriously.
However, this couple ain’t quite as helpless as they appear. Not only does Antonio trap them in his work lab, he already knows a lot about them personally and anticipated their arrival. All along, they've been set-up as unwitting subjects in a gruesome artistic endeavor through which he applies his craft. I won’t reveal what it is, but will say the film definitely expects us to root for this old couple…batshit crazy as they might be.

Though not nearly as bloody as one might expect, the violence still packs a wallop, mainly because it reflects the workings of a pretty sick mind. Still, it’s nothing I’d consider torture porn. A strong argument could even be made that The Goldsmith is more of a black comedy than a horror film, much of the humor stemming from the dialogue and actions of Antonio and his wife, Giovanna. Even when committing a variety of horrific acts, they appear gentle, earnest and sweet-natured.

With a well-conceived story and lively pace, The Goldsmith is a great Italian shocker with plenty of narrative surprises, especially during the outrageous final act. Anchored by amusingly creepy performances by Giuseppe Pambieri (Antonio) and Stefania Casini (Giovanna), this one's for those who appreciate horror with a vindictive streak.


THE GOLDSMITH BACKSTAGE RAW FOOTAGE - Running over an hour, this is an extensive look behind-the-scenes.


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