I'm Not Scared

"Excellent"

I'm Not Scared Review


From the moment the phrase Io Non Ho Paura (I'm Not Scared) appears, scrawled on a rock wall during the opening credits, until the final indelible fade-to-black when it appears once more, Italian director Gabriele Salvatores presents an eloquent coming-of-age tale about a young boy with uncommon courage.

The boy is Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano), a creative, inquisitive youngster who lives with his parents and kid sister in a rural rundown village on the outskirts of nowhere. He roams the gorgeous arid fields with his friends, and then rushes home to eat dinner and arm-wrestle his father. It appears that Dad is away for chunks of time, but neither Michele nor the audience gets enough information to fill in the blanks.

The pressures of impressing his father, caring for his sister and just being a kid implode on Michele when he makes a discovery that changes his life irrevocably. After uncovering a loose piece of sheet metal out in the fields, Michele finds... well, for the sake of avoiding a spoiler, let's say he finds someone rather than something. A person that has the potential to open his eyes, yet ruin his life.

Salvatores, directing his first major international release since winning the Best Foreign Film Oscar for Mediterraneo (1991), shows us an Italy you don't see in Under the Tuscan Sun. He combines the grittiness of tough times and horrible men with pastoral Italian fields, a perfect reflection of the balance of Michele's day-to-day existence. But the metaphor goes a step further; as if to emphasize the monotony of lower-class life, Salvatores' fields aren't lush rolling expanses of green. Instead, cinematographer Italo Petriccione keeps a very limited color palette, with fields that resemble the dirt and sand surrounding Michele's small neighborhood.

Within a world of somber discoveries and limited options, young Cristiano delivers an impressive performance as Michele, seemingly confident in the knowledge that the film rests on his slight shoulders. Sometimes, he invites us into his world by quietly reciting short tales, stories that illustrate his expansive imagination and ability to convert moments of tension into childhood comic books. Through these tales, we also learn that Michele may not completely trust his parents -- they're more useful to him as characters. As despicable thugs work their way in and out of the family's house, Michele learns that a small town can hold many secrets, and that his parents are at the center of a big one.

Without much fanfare or manipulation, Salvatores creates a sympathetic hero out of Michele. He reminds us of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in This Boy's Life or Alison Lohman's in White Oleander, kids whose lives are dangerously out of control and out of their own hands. Salvatores and Cristiano develop this feeling with less melodrama than those other films, and without making Michele seem naïve or passive. There are some dangerous moments for our young hero, but there's not much that feels overwhelmingly ominous.

This easy flow allows the film a good dose of reality, and lets the conclusion provide a solid wallop. It's an ending that flaunts a core of humanity within a shell of evil and greed. Salvatores' final image is the perfect capper, a visual both harsh and dreamy, very much like the entirety of his film.

Aka Io non ho paura.

I dunno, I'm a little scared.



I'm Not Scared

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th March 2003

Box Office USA: $1.4M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Cattleya, Medusa Film, Colorado Film Production, Alquimia Cinema, The Producers Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 88 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Michele, as Fillipo, as Felice, Fabio Tetta as Teschio, Giulia Matturo as Maria, Stefano Biase as Salvatore

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.