|REALITY (director/writer: Matteo Garrone; screenwriter: Massimo Gaudioso/Ugo Chiti/Maurizio Braucci; cinematographer: Marco Onorato; editor: Marco Spoletini; music: Alexander Desplat; cast: Aniello Arena (Luciano), Loredana Simioli (Maria), Nando Paone (Michelle), Graziella Marina (Martina), Nello Iorio (Massimone), Nunzia Schiano (Aunt Nunzia), Rosaria D'Urso (Aunt Rosaria), Giuseppina Cervizzi (Giusy), Claudia Gerini (TV Hostess), Raffaele Ferrante (Enzo), Paola Minaccioni (Roman customer), Ciro Petrone (Bartender), Salvatore Misticone (Shoemaker), Vincenzo Riccio (Vincenzo), Martina Graziuso (Martina), Alessandra Scognamillo (Alessandra); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Matteo Garrone/Domenico Procacci; Oscilloscope Laboratories; 2012-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)|
story is too slight."
by Dennis Schwartz
dark comedy satire of the effects of TV addiction on
society by Italian writer-director Matteo Garrone
speaks to us in TV talk and tells us the obvious that
we should not lose track of what's real and what's
not. I had trouble sticking with the slice-of-life
realism pic throughout, as it became grating spinning
its wheels and going nowhere.
(Aniello Arena-the screen debut
for the gangster, who is allowed to shoot the film
during the day while serving out a 20-year prison
sentence) is the charming hustler Neapolitan
fishmonger, who makes extra bread for his family
of three by having his loyal wife Maria (Loredana
Simioli) and stable cousin (Nando
Paone) help him run a profitable scam
operation. When his children insist he use his hammy
attention getting performer qualities to try out for
the popular reality TV called Big Brother based in
Rome, he can't resist and finagles his way to get a
try out by bothering Enzo (Raffaele Ferrante),
a former “Big Brother” contestant still living off his
brief fame as a contestant winner, to reluctantly
arrange for a try out.
in Luciano's squalid working-class neighborhood and
his extended family, all are taken with celebrity and
cherish the program's ability to make an ordinary
person rich and famous. After the Rome audition
Luciano returns to Naples and is treated already by
the locals as if he surely will be a celebrity.
Luciano's positive he will be called on
the program. But when not contacted, he becomes
agitated and delusionally obsessed with getting on the
show anyway he can. When Luciano thinks
the TV show is sending undercover spies to check on
him, he decides to give up his mail-order scam, sell
his fish business and give away to the poor his
possessions. Maria, she still loves him, but
separates when he ignores his family and continues
doing charity worth because he thinks that's his
ticket to get on the show.
treats the annoying Luciano as if he were a pest, as
he keeps trying to make contact with him. To keep him
away, he throws out shallow mottoes to live by such as
"Always believe" and "Never give up."
At the end of the day, the comedy is not that funny, the story is too slight, the characters are not particularly likeable, and the pic's satire of the vacuousness of celebrity is without an edge. It left me as bored as if I were actually watching one of those putrid reality game shows.
REVIEWED ON 1/13/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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