We all love a good thriller. The popularity of books by John Grisham and movies by Alfred Hitchcock attest to this. North By Northwest is perhaps the template from which these types of films work. The Lithium Conspiracy has many of the same qualities making those works successful. Exciting and full of genuine tension, it hits all the right notes in conjuring an eventful time in the cinema.
Dealing with the aftermath of a company merger, lawyer Giulio (Guido Caprino) embarks on a new assignment. Travelling with his new boss Cecelia (Carolina Crescentini) to South America, he ponders an unclear future. This becomes even murkier when he is told to inspect an important salt lake. Containing half the world’s supply of lithium, he is soon thrust into a dangerous world. With various conglomerates racing to gain control, Giulio and Cecelia find themselves on the run with death around every corner.
The Lithium Conspiracy is an interesting take on the thriller format. Unlike similar American films, it minimises the chase formula in favour of characterisation. Whilst occasionally making the story a little slow and convoluted, it aids in establishing character motivation. As Giulio and Cecelia investigate a labyrinth of lies, they discover the power of private corporations. How these conglomerates attempt to influence elections for their own needs is alarming and quite topical.
It’s this blending of a message within this genre format making The Lithium Conspiracy stand-out. Director Davide Marengo ensures it’s about something more than a typical run-about. This keeps the plot interesting with a few twists difficult to see coming. Caprino and Crescentini makes for intriguing leads with their flawed characters struggling to survive a perilous situation. Their various sub-plots become somewhat confusing although the performers bring conviction throughout.
The Lithium Conspiracy should appeal to fans of tense thrillers. Whist not perfect, it achieves its aims in providing exotic escapist fare with a flavour all its own.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7