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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 Elaine Perrone

"A gorgeously rendered, heartwrenching coming-of-age tale."
5 stars

Evoking David Lynch's Blue Velvet and Stephen King's Stand by Me, I'm Not Scared (Io non ho paura) is a gripping, visually dazzling although at times almost unbearable to watch, coming-of-age thriller delivered by as unlikely a pair as Lynch and King: director Gabriele Salvatores (Mediterraneo) and novelist Niccolò Ammaniti, who also wrote the script.

Opening with a scene of a group of children playing a version of "Chicken" at an abandoned villa in a sun-drenched town in Southern Italy in 1978, circumstances that initially seem idyllic quickly turn dark. The town is less sun-drenched than sun-scorched, and the children's leader, Teschio aka "Skull," (Fabio Tetta) is a bully and, clearly, a wife-beater in the making. Returning to the villa to recover his small sister's lost eyeglasses, 10-year-old Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano) happens upon a boarded-over pit that, of course, begs his investigation. Uncovering the pit, Michele spots, protruding from a blanket, a human foot that turns out to belong to another 10-year-old, Filippo (Mattia Di Pierro), manacled, badly malnourished and disoriented, near-blind, and covered in grime and blood.

Initially frightened, Michele courageously makes contact with the captive boy, forging a tentative friendship. Returning home, intending to bring his new-found friend some food, Michele discovers that Filippo is the son of wealthy Milanese parents, kidnapped in a ransom scheme that extends throughout Michele's entire village and beyond, involving his own father and conflicted mother (Dino Abbrescia, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón).

Salvatores elicits astonishing performances from all the children, which, paired with the dreamy camera work of DP Italo Petriccione, bring roaring back vivid memories of both the awe and ephemerality of adolescence. The sensation of watching the events unfold from the perspective of a child is further magnified by Salvatores' brilliant technique of positioning the cameras at the eye level of a 10 year old.

In the end, with its haunting images of one trust destroyed, another bestowed, I'm Not Scared left me shaken and teary-eyed well after exiting the theatre.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8956&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/16/04 23:56:08
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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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