The Italian crime drama film “The Turning Point” (original title: “La Svolta”) tries to pack itself with moments of action and suspense as well as intense emotions. Pitting two very dissimilar characters in, Ludovico and Jack, over a few days of being hunted for a crime, “The Turning Point” offers the ability to connect with and feel for the characters in its best parts. This connection is arguably a bit faded during the climax at the end, but nonetheless, it is an entertaining film to watch.
‘The Turning Point’ Plot Summary
As two elderly garbage-collectors bicker at work on a rainy night, the location is set—a moderately well-off neighborhood in an unnamed Italian city. Ludovico is an introvert man in his late twenties, struggling with tremendous under-confidence and clinical anxiety. His father visits him and is visibly upset with his son’s inability to achieve anything in life yet and also angry at his habit of slacking and procrastinating.
On the other side of town, in a seedy bar named Flamingo, a middle-aged man walks in with a bag full of money from a clearly illegitimate source. In a moment of flurry, this bag is stolen by a younger man, who tries to evade on his motorcycle, being chased by the owner. The thief, Jack, is almost about to ride away when his bike skids on the wet road due to oncoming traffic, and he now has to flee on foot. He runs through narrow alleys to avoid his pursuer and then takes shelter behind a cluster of garbage bins on the side of the street. At the same time, Ludovico comes out of the nearby building to dispose of trash and is quickly taken hostage by Jack, who holds a gun to his back and orders him to take him to his house. Ludovico is terribly scared and can do nothing but obey, and he shakily leads the thief into his apartment. Taking away his keys and mobile phone, Jack realizes something is wrong with the man and rushes to help him, giving Ludovico his anxiety medicine, and then himself taking a few drops of it. He then even gives his host a stack of five thousand euros and promises to gift it to him if he keeps quiet and lets him stay in his apartment for a while.
Meanwhile, on the street, the pursuer, Mario, finds a stack of money that has fallen off from the bag and realizes that Jack is hiding somewhere inside the apartment buildings. He quickly informs his men and orders twenty of them to gather in front of the residence to monitor every movement in and out. Jack notices this from the apartment window and realizes that his getaway won’t be as quick as he wants.
Who Does The Money Actually Belong To?
The Flamingo bar is revealed to be the safehouse of a vicious mobster named Caino, and Mario is just a goon in his gang who was handling a transfer of money. The bag was a payment intended to reach Caino that he was bringing to his leader when it got picked off by Jack. Mario returns to the bar and explains everything, also sincerely returning the stack of bills he had found on the road. Caino and his closest hitman, Buzzetti, go through security cameras and manage to print out a picture of Jack’s face. But they don’t reveal anything to Mario and immediately kill him mercilessly. Two other henchmen, Spartaco and Marzio, are given the duty of disposing of Mario’s body, and the two discuss their distrust and dislike of their gang leader. Caino apparently killed off his own brother, possibly to take over the criminal enterprise, and now has a very arrogant and ruthless attitude towards all his workers.
While on surveillance duty in front of the apartment buildings, the two even discuss a possible scenario where they get hold of the money and run away with it, without informing Caino. Spartaco and Marzio are sent to every apartment, disguised as workers of the water department, to look for Jack, and they search Ludovico’s flat as well, but are unable to find anything as Jack silently hides under the bed. Their leader is put off by this, especially when other gang members are able to find out Jack’s location a short while later. Caino calls them to his office, relieves Spartaco of his duties in the gang, and gets Marzio killed by Buzzetti. He recalls his close friendship with Spartaco’s father, who had even served jail time for him, and lets the son walk away unharmed. He then sends the hitman to Ludovico’s apartment for further investigation, and the man, impersonating as a gas department worker, is able to track Jack down. He does not act on it, though, and instead informs his gang about it.
How Does Jack Act As The Turning Point In Ludovico’s Life?
Although Jack’s presence in Ludovico’s apartment is a hindrance at first, as he locks his host up in a bedroom and makes use of his resources and clothes, soon enough, the intruder acts as a real turning point in his hostage’s life. Jack refuses to accept the nervous and shaky nature of Ludovico and forces him towards situations that he would never put himself in. First, he pushes Ludovico out of his flat to steal food from his neighbor’s empty apartment. Ludovico falters to act out of his fear and nervousness, and also as he sees his neighbor and crush, Rebecca, getting hassled by her toxic boyfriend, who she is trying to dump for quite some time. Jack then accompanies him on their second attempt, and they successfully steal food from the neighbor’s fridge, despite his lascivious wife being present inside the house. Ludovico seems to have enjoyed the adrenaline rush, and the two gradually start off a friendship. Jack repairs a set of neon lights in his house and then encourages him to fix a shelf that he had been avoiding for some time. The thief also sees Ludovico’s illustrations in the form of comic books, and although he tries to hide them away at first, Ludovico explains that his real passion is to draw, and he wants to publish his own comic book. Jack is very encouraging in his endeavor and tells Ludovico to skip his ongoing education course in economics and to pursue his comic-book passion full-time. By the end, he even offers him a large amount of money out of the stolen bag to help him get his book published and jokingly asks him to send half of the profits to him later on.
Jack also helps Ludovico express his interest in Rebecca, as the woman also seems quite interested in him. Rebecca had been working on a dissertation on Italian cinema of the 60s, and she asked for Ludovico’s help with it, knowing that he had an ardent interest in the cinema of that time. This conversation is also facilitated by Jack, as it was he who had forced his host to go talk to her on the staircase and help her with grocery bags. Ludovico happily agrees, and slowly gets over his inhibitions about himself. Later on, Jack beats up Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend when he comes looking for her and threatens him with his gun. This action is indeed what gives away Jack’s location to Caino’s gang, but he does not seem to think or care much about it. In their closest moment as friends, Jack reveals to Ludovico that he has an elder brother who has gone off to Brazil and settled there, and Jack intends to go to Brazil with the stolen money in order to reunite with his brother. In a very heartwarming manner, the two men, subtly and gradually, become more like brothers. Ludovico is extremely sorrowful and even angry when Jack decides to run away from his apartment with the help of a construction worker with whom he had made arrangements. But Jack ultimately returns shortly after leaving, to accompany his newfound brother to a small party upstairs with Rebecca and her Spanish roommate. In an ultimate proof of the turning point in Ludovico’s life, he decides to get rid of a hat that he always wore to hide his receding hairline and now feels more comfortable accepting his own image and how he is.
‘The Turning Point’ Ending Explained: Who Gets To Keep The Stolen Money After All?
As the four new friends have a wonderful time at dinner in Rebecca’s apartment, Caino himself gets ready to come and deal with Jack. Late into the evening, Ludovico finally builds up the courage to show his comic illustrations to Rebecca, and the two even share a kiss. Ludovico comes down to his apartment to take the drawings back upstairs, but he takes much longer than usual to return. Jack jokingly suggests that his friend is nervous enough to get lost on the stairs, and he decides to go check on him. Entering the apartment, he finds Ludovico on the sofa, terribly beaten up and injured. Before Jack can react, he is smacked hard on the head by Caino, who also removes his gun. The mobster tells Jack that his brother was a lowlife involved with drugs in Brazil and had died, with only his remains found in the ocean. But just as Caino is about to shoot Jack, he is stopped by a pointed gun to his own head and a voice ordering him to drop his gun and lie down beside his hostages. This new man in the scene is Spartaco, who had always wanted to put an end to Caino, and now, after his good friends Mario and Marzio are killed, he has finally arrived. He verbally humiliates Caino and shoots two bullets at his knees, rendering the mobster unable to move.
But in a final twist, just when about to kill Caino, Spartaco’s own head is blown off by the hitman Buzzetti, who had been waiting downstairs all this time for his boss to return. Seeing the entire scene, Buzzetti quickly realizes his own opportunity, and without any words, he shoots Caino dead. Seeing that he cannot let Jack and Ludovico walk away as they have been witnesses to all this, he shoots at them. However, at this exact moment, Ludovico picks up Spartaco’s gun lying just by him and shoots at the hitman, killing him. Ludovico himself is too injured to move, and it is evident that he is dying. Despite his best efforts, Jack is unable to assist his friend and limps away from the scene, carrying his backpack. But he too cannot go far, and ultimately collapses behind garbage bins. The two garbage-collectors seen at the very beginning, arrive on the scene, clearing out trash and complaining to each other about Italy’s biggest problems being corruption and the tendency to take what is not one’s own. They then stumble upon Jack and snatch away his bag, noticing that it is filled with money. They quickly run back to their van with the bag, only throwing away stacks of papers with Ludovico’s comic-book illustrations, as they are worthless to them.
The ending of “The Turning Point” in a way brings viewers back to grim reality after showing small but hopeful promises of a possible escape for Jack. Despite whatever happens at the end, Jack and Ludovico are truly established as strangers who started off with hostility and then became friends, ultimately becoming brothers. In the end, when Ludovico’s illustrations are thrown away by the garbage-collectors, the camera focuses on them, and Ludovico’s note on the front page is visible—”To my big brother Jack, who gave me my life back.” Jack also considered Ludovico his brother by now. He had recognized Buzzetti by his boots, and was sure that Caino’s men were quickly coming to kill him, and yet he decided to stay with Ludovico and accompany him to one final night, and probably Ludovico’s first night of enjoyment.
“The Turning Point” is a 2022 Italian Crime Drama film directed by Riccardo Antonaroli.