Is this really what we've become? Paolo Virzi's Human Capital dictates the story of contemporary capitalism and its effects on society in a manner more insipid than incisive. On the topic of politics, his film is fairly sound, if far from revolutionary in the issues it raises and the means by which it delineates them; the film is primarily about those aforementioned effects, and on this topic it is an egregious misfire. Virzi explores various tiers within Italian culture in a wearisome narrative device that involves the plot basically starting three separate times, to form a tired ensemble piece about the cruelty of commerce in these trying times. Be it in the cliched characterisation, the humdrum direction or a script that seems thoroughly clueless to its own outrageously melodramatic tone, Human Capital is a laughable attempt to relate a tale that's been told dozens of times before in modern cinema - all that differentiates this film from its predecessors is its apparent dearth of artistry, and its surfeit of cringe-inducing moments, be they entire plot developments or mere snippets of dialogue. That Virzi has populated his cast with Italy's most popular bourgeois film stars doesn't contribute the beguiling layer of insidious irony it ought to, it simply smacks of a characteristic stab at projecting his film's monumental self-importance. Said irony finds occasional cracks in Virzi's concrete wall of pomposity to manifest itself as unintentional humour, but there's an unfortunately sweet-natured liberalness to Virzi's social commentary that nips any genuine snatches of humour in the bud most swiftly indeed.