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

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

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.