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Italian horror-mystery and homage to classic black-and-white noir cinema The Laplace’s Demon is centered around a 19th-Century theory of physics that speculates that one can predict the past and future state of all things using nothing more than data and mathematics. Much like the techniques used throughout this film, that scientific treatise has fallen out of favor in modern times. However, it is the use of that old hypothesis, along with a conceptually stylish presentation that invokes the look and feel of classic Twilight Zone, that has earned the movie much critical acclaim on its lengthy festival run.

The story centers on a group of researchers that have honed in on an equation that allows them to very reliably predict the manner in which a dropped glass will break, but this revelation in predictive science is not quite perfect. Their work earns the attention of a wealthy recluse, who invites them to his island manor with promises of assisting their efforts, but upon arrival, they discover him to be absent. Yet, a giant model of the home dominates the central room, with a chess pawn that represents each one of them and mimics their movements through the mansion with absolute precision. They are captivated and amazed by this mechanical miracle – that is, until the appearance of a queen piece within the replica suggests that they are neither alone or safe.

According to director Giordano Giulivi, production of his debut feature took a staggering seven years to complete, but with a crew of only six people, counting himself, preparation and process of the completed film must have indeed been pain-staking and time-consuming. Considering the awards and nominations The Laplace’s Demon has racked up at its numerous screenings, the effort was apparently worth it. The movie has been acquired by Reel Nightmare Films for distribution in the U.S. & Canada for release by either the end of the year or early next year. This is definitely my kind of thing, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

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