In his latest film director, writer Abel Ferrara gives us a story of one man’s struggle as he navigates his life after drug addiction recovery.
Tommaso, (played by Willem Dafoe) is an American film director now living in Italy, with a new wife and a 3-year-old daughter. The film opens giving us a glimpse of Tommaso’s daily life, getting coffee at the local shop, greeting the shop owners, and playing with his daughter. Tomasso a former heroin addict has been drug-free for six years but keeps himself in shape with yoga, mediates takes Italian classes, and conducts a workshop for recovering addicts.
Tommaso ‘s wife Nikki (played by Cristina Chiriac) seems to have her hands full with their baby Dee Dee(played by Anna Ferrara). When Tommaso initiates an intimate moment with Anna which gets interrupted with the cries from Dee Dee. Something all Moms with young children can identify with.
If you are not into long movies that may go off course at times then Tommaso is definitely not the film for you. The film could use omitting a few scenes but the overall complexity of Tommaso’s personality is intriguing to watch.
Dafoe carries you into his world of torment and guilt and you may find yourself questioning his choices. For instance, when he sees his wife having a dalliance in the park with a man(presumably her lover) his myriad of expressions on his face is priceless. But when he gets home he does not confront her and then again we can only assume this is the way Tommaso handles problems by not addressing issues head-on.
As he attempts to get inspired working on his latest film we get to learn more about his past and that of his wife. As he struggles to be a good father and husband problems from his past continue to haunt him. His mind slips into scenarios real and imagined and you may have trouble sorting out the difference. The style of the film feels up close and personal it is like being right there with Tommaso as his behavior spirals out of control. The mood and lighting on some scenes breathe a life of their own.
There are religious references and symbols of the Catholic Church in the film due in part to the directors’ upbringing as a catholic concluding with an ending of Tomasso on a cross like Jesus Christ. Tomasso is a film of discovering self even its painful and if you watch and listen carefully you might take away something meant just for you.