I knew I was in trouble right from the beginning when a message appeared on the screen that if this film caused someone to meditate, then it would have been worth the effort. I was pretty sure that when I tracked down a copy of The Web Of Silence – A.I.D.S., it was because it was an Italian movie that was going to either gross me out or make me laugh and hopefully both. I was also pretty sure that I didn’t buy it because I was in need of meditation inspiration. That’s what my day job is for.
But guess what? Danged if this movie didn’t cause me to meditate to the point that I was slumped down in my chair and feeling as relaxed as I did when I discovered how easy a mixture of Diet Mountain Dew and six buck gin went down the old gullet. When something finally happened in the movie that jolted me out of my meditation, almost an entire hour had passed! It was when Walter confronted his wife and her almost-lover. And when I say confronted, that’s Italian for committing felony burglary and assault.
There will be some that say that as far as his wife cheating on him, that Walter had it coming to him. After all, he spent the first hour of the movie screwing every chick he could get his mitts on that wasn’t his wife. Surely then, if they aren’t going to divorce, his wife is entitled to give as good as she gets, right?
Wrong! Walter was doing the entire female population of Rome precisely because he loved his wife so freaking much! He’s got a bad dose of the HIV and he doesn’t want to infect her! So he’s out infecting all the no good whores who would sleep with a married man! Really, it’s chivalry straight from the Middle Ages when you think about it.
And that’s pretty much the movie. I kept thinking that there must be just a little more to it than that, but then I remembered how the first two-thirds of it was just a series of sweaty HIV positive sex scenes interspersed with Walter’s old lady demanding to be cut in on that sort of action.
There was a minimal amount of subplot provided by Walter’s senator’s father. Only he and Walter know of Walt’s condition and the senator is using it as a reason to call for more research to combat HIV. Walter immediately plays the “you don’t care about me, only your stupid political career” card and it just makes you wish that every movie featuring a father and son didn’t have to play some variation of that card, especially since it adds nothing to what’s happening here. Which in itself is quite the accomplishment considering how little already wasn’t going on anyway.
Somehow, despite the fact nothing happened in the movie, I was still confused by some plot points. I had assumed that Walter was out infecting everyone, but then one morning he gets a note from an employee at his antique store he’d been screwing that says she has HIV. Okay, so he infected her, but then why did the movie show her in bed with a junkie? If I didn’t know any better I’d think that I was supposed to believe that this guy transmitted HIV to her and then she passed it on to Walter. But I think Walter believes he gave to her because the next thing you know, he’s visiting his old childhood friend who is now a priest.
Walter confesses his sins and asks to be absolved for giving most of Rome HIV. His friend says “no deal, plague-spreader!” Ouch!
There’s some really hideous imagery used as Walter stands in front of a painting of Jesus and whines about not being forgiven. Whatever. Why is Walter sweating what some celibate guy has to say anyway? He can’t possibly know the pressure that a secretly HIV positive husband is under. Especially when he’s a studly antiques dealer who drives a red sports car. As if the rejection by his God has sapped his will to live, Walter develops a horrible case of bronchial pneumonia on his way out of the church to his car.
With Walter deathly ill, his wife finally gets the news that he was running around on her for her own good. His best friend’s wife also finds out which is a bit awkward since he screwed her, too! Whoops! I’ll bet his best friend wished he would’ve known that before giving him that ancient Hellenistic bust as a get well present!
Even more awkward is the lame dialogue between Walter’s wife and the doctor about how we need to make sure the politicians and pharmaceutical companies don’t profit off of this epidemic. Thank you, Dr. Karl Marx.
Director Leandro Lucchetti is best unknown for the Richard Roundtree flick Getting Even and the war movies Apocalypse Mercenaries and Leathernecks. The Web Of Silence – A.I.D.S. marked the last time he was credited with any work and after sitting through all 85 minutes of it, I would have to say that he probably wishes the movie he made before this (Caged Women) was the last thing he was credited with.
The threadbare plot and the lack of anything happening for most of the movie make this one of the most pointless and tedious exercises in the annals of Italian trash cinema. Leandro does manage to give us a delightfully cheesy ending when he has the infected ex-employee picking up a hunky male hitch hiker in slow motion! That’s how just how I imagined the whole movie would be when I was meditating about it! For only the most obsessive compulsive and hardest hardcore Italiaholics!
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