Send a domino tumbling to the table and you know what will happen next. It’s chaotic, inevitable, and the perfect metaphor for how the financial crash played out across continents. Effetto Domino (Domino Effect) is an adaptation of Romolo Bugaro’s 2015 novel, which explores the consequences of our greed, and exposes the fragility of our entire financial system.

It starts like most tragedies: one man with a dream, just out of reach. Diego Robin is Franco Rampazzo, an ex-bricklayer turned builder and entrepreneur, who sees a golden opportunity to convert some abandoned hotels into luxury retirement homes. The deals he strikes to make this happen look a little fragile through director Alessandro Rossetto’s lens, leaving you to ponder how, not if, Rampazzo’s aspiring empire will crumble.

It’s a simplistic portrayal of a deal gone wrong, and elsewhere the characterisation of the rogue’s gallery who betray and hound Rampazzo is equally unimaginative. We see their rage in similar snarling diatribes, barked at Rampazzo as if by hired thugs, not key players in this saga.

Thankfully Rampazzo and his family are more developed, with Robin and Nicoletta Maragno (playing his wife Silvana) the standouts. The panic-inducing terror of the debt they’ve accrued is played beautifully, with every option explored bluntly and mercilessly.

The most intriguing part of Effetto Domino is its treatment of toxic masculinity, with hot topics like the male breadwinner burden and male suicide littering the wasteland left in the wake of this financial fiasco. Though there are several strong female characters this is still a man’s world, as emphasised by Daniel Mazza’s clean, striking cinematography, full of towering, phallic skyscrapers that leave an ominous shadow behind the businessmen chasing euros, dollars and yuan.

Effetto Domino find this ingenuity too rarely to truly impress, but this is a fiery, tragic tale about how fragile our economy really is.



CAST: Diego Ribon, Mirko Artuso, Nicoletta Maragno, Maria Roveran

DIRECTOR: Alessandro Rossetto

WRITERS: Alessandro Rossetto, Caterina Serra

SYNOPSIS: In a thermal bath town that withstands mass tourism, a builder and his surveyor partner start up an ambitious project: converting twenty abandoned hotels into luxury residences for wealthy businessmen. The sudden disappearance of funding from banks and investors triggers a ‘domino effect’ on the fate of those who had hoped only to enrich themselves…