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The Crack Magazine



Director: Mario Martone

Stars: Pierfrancesco Favino, Aurora Quattrocchi, Tommaso Ragno, Francesco Di Leva

A businessman finds himself enmeshed in the past in this beautifully shot and lyrical drama from Mario Martone, an adaptation of the novel by Neapolitan writer Ermanno Rea. Pierfrancesco Favino is Felice, a fifty-something who now lives in Cairo, returning to his old Naples neighbourhood in order to visit his ailing mother Teresa (Quattrocchi). Disgusted to find his poorly-sighted mother has been shunted into in an awful ground floor apartment, he sees about securing a nicer place for her to live. Despite his plans for a short stay, Felice finds himself unable to leave his old neighbourhood, and as he paces the shabby streets he recalls his friendship with boyhood friend Oreste (Ragno), and how as young men they would hang out, occasionally indulging in petty crime. Oreste, he learns is now the feared head of a dangerous gang known to the locals as ‘Badman’. Against the warning of the no-nonsense local priest Don Luigi Rega (Di Leva), Felice seeks out his old friend. The pacing is a little too languid at times, but Favino’s self-contained performance is captivating and the picture sports a memorable depiction of the down-at-heel Naples environs with cinematographer Paolo Carnera managing to locate a bruised beauty among the squalor, while the compelling script nods to Conrad and a ‘High Noon’-style Western.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm