I'm Not Scared (Io Non ho Paura)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/06/2004

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Beautifully shot, impressively acted thriller from the director of Meditteraneo.

If at all possible, you should avoid the trailer for I’m Not Scared because Gravelly Voiced Trailer Man (“In a WORLD…”) gives away key plot developments with gay abandon.

In fact, Miramax are adept at trailers like this, which are always heavy on visuals and gravelly voiceover but light on actual dialogue, the subtext being that they hope you’ll have actually bought a ticket and be inside the cinema before you realise it is, in fact –whisper it- FOREIGN (see also: Central Station).

That said, I’m Not Scared is the sort of film with strong crossover appeal, as it’s an enjoyable thriller with strong performances.

Shocking Discovery In Secret Bunker

Newcomer Giuseppe Cristiano plays Michele, a ten year old boy living in a remote southern Italian village in the late 1970s. For the most part, he’s content to spend the summer undergoing childhood rituals with his group of friends and playing in the acres of surrounding fields, as well as being a responsible older brother to his adorable younger sister, Maria (Giulia Matturro).

However, when he goes back to an abandoned house to retrieve his sister’s glasses, he makes a shocking discovery in a secret bunker and soon unearths a dark secret that will change his life…

To reveal the nature of the secret would be churlish, but suffice it to say that the film handles both its ‘jump out of your seat’ moments and its arguably more shocking plot revelations with equal aplomb. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Niccolo Ammaniti, who also co-wrote the screenplay, and the film benefits considerably from being told entirely from Michele’s point of view – this means that if Michele loses consciousness, so do the audience.

In addition, the sumptuous photography, courtesy of Italo Petriccione, bathes everything in a rich summer light that proves deceptively idyllic.

Newcomers Display Excellence

The children in the film are all newcomers and they each give impressive, natural performances. Matturo, in particular, is a born scene-stealer.

There’s also strong support from the adult members of the cast, particularly The Lovely Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (if she looks familiar, she was in A Walk In The Clouds with Keanu Reeves) as Michele’s mother, as well as Diego Abatantuono as the sinister Sergio. Dino Abbrescia is also extremely good as the father – his expression as his ‘three matches’ trick backfires is one of several lighter moments in the film.

In short, I’m Not Scared is an enjoyably dark, atmospheric thriller that delivers shocks, an impressive ‘childhood’ mystery story that would put Enid Blyton to shame and strong performances from its talented cast. Highly recommended.

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I'm Not Scared (Io Non ho Paura)
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Content updated: 22/01/2019 20:30

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