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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.54%
Just Average: 10.53%
Pretty Crappy: 10.53%
Sucks: 0%

6 reviews, 21 user ratings

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I'm Not Scared
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by Jay Seaver

"A great kid's-eye view of the thriller."
5 stars

As adults, we don't really know what kids think. We think we do, because, after all, each of us used to be one, but when we have to emulate them, it often doesn't seem quite right.

To a child, life in the south of Italy in 1978 appears idyllic. As the movie opens, Michele is running through a field with his friends and little sister, not a care in the world. Yeah, she breaks her glasses, but little sisters do things like that, which is why you have to watch out for them. But even in that first scene, we get a hint of what to come, as we get a glimpse at the nastiness in one of the kids, and the willingness the others have to work with him to humiliate another (this one an overweight girl). Michele stands up to deflect their cruelty from her, but almost too late. As they leave the abandoned house where they were playing, Michele's sister Maria realizes she's lost her glasses. When going back to find them, he finds a hole; looking into that hole, he sees a foot sticking out from under a towel, not moving.

So begins a great little story of how a boy realizes that even the people close to him whom he loves and respects - and who genuinely love him in return - can be capable of doing terrible things. But when you're ten years old, and the people in question are your family and their friends, how can you be sure that it's evil? There are lots of things that parents don't talk about, after all, and this just may be one of them.

The movie does an excellent job of giving a kids'-eye view of the whole situation. Newcomer Giuseppe Cristiano does a fine job making Michele seem intelligent and troubled by what he has seen, aware that something is strange but unable to question what he knows right away. The film is, from what I gather, a faithful adaptation of a first-person novel, so Cristiano must appear in every scene, and the adult interactions are what he sees and overhears, so we need to see them as a ten-year-old would, rather than as an adult member of the audience. Director Gabriele Salvatores manages this nicely, especially in one scene where the town's adults are all in conference, leaving the kids confused and mainly concerned about when they will have their supper.

The most prominent adult roles are given to Dino Abbrescia and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as Pino and Anna, Michele's parents. In many ways, it is as confusing to the audience as it is to the characters how they can be involved; even though they may seem to worry a little much, they are good parents. We do get an occasional glimpse that this life may not be as charmed as it seems to the children, but it seems nearly as incongruous to us as it does to Michele.

Part of the reason for that is that this movie is gorgeous. Even though Michele's town is a little poor and run-down, the exteriors are filled with warm colors and pleasant imagery. It makes the ugly elements stand out, though even those scenes are well-composed and eye-catching.

There's been some controversy over Miramax marketing this as a thriller rather than a coming-of-age drama. I can see where this aggravation is coming from; even without Miramax's history being peppered with abuses visited upon foreign films, this is clearly not a nail-biter for most of its run-time, but is more introspective.

Still, it does fit into both genres, and an intelligent thriller with a ten-year-old as its protagonist is a rarer specimen than a "growing up twenty years ago in a poor region" story. So while the advertising may be deceptive, it's not a lie, and if it gets people to see this movie, good for it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8956&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/02/04 01:33:22
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/07/09 brian "Stand by Me" with an Italian accent, but not derivative. 4 stars
1/16/09 Shaun Wallner Pure Entertainment! 5 stars
1/02/08 Kaiser Nice, superb and I continued till the end 5 stars
9/26/06 pixie I watched it with my italian class and it was a fantastic movie that has a great p 5 stars
9/13/05 ray mero Transcendant movie...Hollywood is incapable of this kind of work. 5 stars
6/05/05 samira Beautiful wonderful movie!!! 5 stars
2/15/05 H Albanese I enjoy Films with an Italian Heritage- I will watch this again 5 stars
11/08/04 Paul Boyle Excellent 5 stars
11/07/04 Jack Galloway Beautiful movie. At once tender, warm, tense and exciting. Photographically superb. 5 stars
10/04/04 Gerardo Ferracane Excellent, even better than Mediterraneo 5 stars
7/18/04 Cassandra Farrar disturbing, but fascinating 4 stars
6/11/04 susan excellent, one of the best I've seen 5 stars
5/31/04 Jane Beautiful...Moving...I highly recommend it! 5 stars
5/19/04 Puspa Allamanda I enjoyed it 5 stars
5/18/04 Marlon watch this M. Knight Shamalamdingdong 5 stars
5/16/04 Tea a very emotional, powerful movie. excellent 5 stars
5/11/04 Anna Sannito I enjoyed it 4 stars
5/08/04 de it reminds me of the childhood and those dreams and peaceful life, but just can't go back 5 stars
5/02/04 Ray Super!!! 5 stars
5/02/04 Cesarina Horing Stupendo 5 stars
4/09/04 Monster W. Kung Good movie... 4 stars
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  DVD: 12-Oct-2004



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