John Tuturro's Magnum Opus

Pandemic Dreams Volume Six

The movie stars John Tuturro. The framing, design, and pacing are very Wes Anderson-like, maybe closest in my mind to The Grand Budapest Hotel, but the color is almost compeltely washed out.


We open on the main character in a fancy ballroom, being pelted by items thrown from a crowd of people all dressed in fancy clothes; something akin to Victorian-era formal wear. They’re throwing all sorts of things at our protagonist: crystal goblets, fancy china, flatware, and even furniture. A series of quick shots overlayed by screaming epithets (not synced) convey the intensity of an enraged mob.

Tuturro isn’t completely defenseless. He’s wearing primitive, crudely-made armor: a metal barrel sized to his torso with stovepipe arms and legs, and a helmet like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This seems to protect him from the worst, but the assault is constant and the intensity increases as time passes. It’s a montage of crashing and screaming aristocracy intercut with their hapless victim standing nearly stoic in their midst.


A pile of junk is centered in the ballroom. Tuturro is walled up and nearly buried within it. Only a few odds and ends of the seeming infinite supply of crowd-thrown missiles penetrates the blockade of spent ersatz ammunition. Tuturro’s makeshift armor has cracked open, his helmet dented and cast aside. We push into a close-up of him weeping in anguish. He’s bald—his head shaved smooth. It reads like a prison haircut, but without context we can’t be sure. Somehow the ground beneath him is soaked in water and has turned to mud, as if the expensively tiled ballroom floor has been shattered and the ground beneath dug up—like a bomb crater. Tuturro is thrashing and wallowing in the gray slurry. He has a line of dialog, the only coherent one so far, delivered through tears.

“I thought I was doing the right thing!”


The outside of the junk pile. One of the mob finds a bomb. It’s a cartoon bomb, a big ball with a fuse on it, lit and sparking. The bomber throws it over the “wall” and into Tuturro’s lap. There’s an instant where he looks at the bomb and tries to process its meaning, as we


Virtual silence. The fury of the mob we’ve been hearing so far is gone, replaced by the susurrus of a busy police station. This is a two-shot with Tuturro’s character sitting on a bench next to a no-name character. It’s obviously not in the United States; it’s somewhere European. In contrast to how he looked previously, or even how we expect Tuturro to look, he’s decked out in stereotypical “punk” attire: well-worn black leather jacket with metal studs, ripped t-shirt with some kind of anarchist symbology or slogan, loosely-tied combat boots. He has a ragged mohawk dyed green and purple, and he’s wearing heavy eyeliner; no eyeglasses. He seems tired, but there’s an air of resolve about him, some steel in his spine.

The camera pushes in closer from the two-shot to a close-up as music plays to a crescendo. Tuturro speaks another line, delivered mostly to himself, as the zoom stops and the music ends at its peak:

“You know, I think I’m gonna go through with it. It’s the right thing to do.”

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