A Disappointingly Flat Film
Yara is the perfect example of how important editing and music are to a movie’s success. Long stretches of silence and some questionable long cuts combine to completely blunt what’s otherwise an important and shocking case that rocked Italy.
This film is based on the real-life incident that occurred back in 2010, in which a 13 year old called Yara went missing after heading home one winter’s night. This forms the crux of the mystery, as tenacious Prosecutor Ruggeri remains determined to try and get to the bottom of what happened.
Ruggeri uses every means possible to find Yara, even if those are morally and ethically questionable. While that in itself sets up a thrilling investigative effort, the execution is much more of a methodical crawl through simple plot beats, staying as close to the real case as possible.
Just to re-emphasize the earlier point about this being based on a true story, Yara intersperses media coverage and footage of what happened at crucial points of this investigation to keep things consistent with the case. It actually works quite well, although the problems with this movie aren’t with the case itself but more with the way Yara tells its story.
To begin with, Ruggeri is not a very likable character. She’s impulsive, jumps to conclusions and in her desire to get someone arrested, actually pins the whole thing on the wrong person to start with. To be fair, the second half of this film does improve her character quite a bit, but it’s a bit of a mountain to climb after such a shaky start.
The main issue here though comes from the flatlined screenplay. There’s barely any tension, drama or thrills and to be honest, a lot of that can be attributed to the music – or lack thereof.
Large swathes of Yara are chock full of suffocating silence, with conversations taking place with no ambient score. At its worst, the editing cuts these scenes at really bizarre times, with characters just standing around idly, waiting for the scene to cut. It feels amateurish and completely messes with the flow of the movie. It’s also not helped that the film is full of long cuts and scenes that are in desperate need of more punchy outcomes.
As an example of this, there’s a scene midway through the film where Ruggeri believes she’s lost her daughter. As she begins searching through the school, there’s no music and simple scene cuts from one area to the next. She slowly walks through the hallways before finding her.
Why not add some dramatic string segments? Close up shots of Ruggeri’s face or even just some different angles? This is just one scene and Yara is full of moments just like this; a movie in desperate need of re-editing and paced better. Instead, Yara feels like a stoic and flatlined crime drama, missing the drama.
Unfortunately Yara is not a movie to remember. While the case shouldn’t be forgotten, this poor reenactment most certainly should. While the story is serviceable, you’re better off watching a documentary than watching this, as everything here is in desperate need of a tune-up.
Verdict - 4/10