The Goldsmith (L'Orafo)
Dir. Vincenzo Ricchiuto (2023)
A gang of thieves break into the house of a goldsmith looking for a score, but he has other things in store for them when he traps them inside his safe.
Cinephobia Releasing has quickly become one of my favorite boutique physical media companies because of their outstanding collection of bizarre and unique foreign horror that they are attempting to bring to an American audience. I've already covered their films The Latent Image, The Coffee Table (which also showed at this year's Fantastic Fest), and Amor Bandido, and The Goldsmith may be my favorite so far. The film is about a band of criminals who work jobs together, the leader stealing to support his drug habit and his friends to fund their lavish lifestyle. They break into the home of Antonio (Giuseppe Pambieri), a local goldsmith who is rumored to keep a lot of valuables at his home, and they are locked into his safe before they are able to escape with the goods. When they discover that Antonio is able to see and communicate with them through a closed-circuit system wired into the wall, they begin to suspect he was already waiting for their arrival.
The Goldsmith surprised the hell out of me because I had no idea what to expect going in. I saw it was Cinephobia and dug right in, not realizing that this one was going to get as dark as it did. Playing on the group's paranoia, Antonio and his wife Giovanna (Stefania Casini) psychologically torment them as they prepare them for their ultimate fate, a batshit crazy finale that is impossible for the audience to see coming. Gnarly and disturbing, this is a film you want to see with as little information as possible before going in, so I won't spoil very much here. Suffice to say, it fits perfectly into Cinephobia's unique filmography and will hopefully find a home with disturbing horror fans around the world.
The performances are really what drive the film. The thieves, played by Mike Cimini, Tania Bambaci, and Gianluca Vannucci, are excellent, but its Pambieri and Casini that steal the show. Their performances are delightfully unhinged in this edge-of-your-seat thriller, as perfect in their roles as Jackie Berroyer in Calvaire or Philippe Nahon in I Stand Alone, though I will admit The Goldsmith doesn't quite attain the heights of those legendary nihilistic films. The film is disturbing without being too gory, and the squeamish ending will have you begging to look away.
I don't stan for very many companies, even ones that I like. I'm a huge fan of Arrow Video, but they are incredibly hit or miss, and as much as I love the guys at Vinegar Syndrome, their filmography rarely feels like a must-see to me. Terror Vision, my current favorite, knows that they're releasing schlock and they lean into it, but there are still going to be films that you won't miss from your shelf. I haven't seen Cinephobia miss yet, and the quality of their releases, even from Artsploitation Films, from which they are an offshoot, is phenomenal. If you're down to try a newer company with an excellent, brand-defining set of releases, this is the one you've been looking for.
Who this movie is for: Psychological thriller fans, Crime movie lovers, Jewelers
Bottom line: Disturbing and chilling as all-get-out, The Goldsmith is an excellent release from Cinephobia Releasing that is well worth checking out. Performances from Pambieri and Casini are jaw-dropping, and the breakneck plot will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. If you get a chance to check this one out, I highly recommend doing so. Just try to keep from reading any spoilers before watching.