Lavazza Italian Film Festival Review: A Quiet Life (2010)

26 Aug

By Michael De Martino

(Claudio Cupellini, 2010, Italy, in Italian and German, Drama, 105 minutes)

A Neapolitan man, Rosario (Toni Servillo), runs a restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany. Suddenly Diego (Marco D’Amore), a man from his past, arrives on his doorstep and opens old wounds from Rosario’s past. The hidden life of crime is exposed as Rosario’s secrets unfold.

While I generally like to see a film with no prior knowledge of its content, this film will no doubt suffer criticism from those who are unfamiliar with the Camorra (Neapolitan mafia) and their garbage scandals. This information, which is only briefly touched on at the beginning of A Quiet Life, is absolutely vital to the story. Without this knowledge the film risks being dismissed as just another on-the-run style family drama.

A Quiet Life loses points not for being bad or ineffective, but because it’s not all that interesting. Only a handful of characters are ever presented, leaving little chance for suspense. Most of the action is merely fast editing which is frequently unnecessary.

In saying this, the film is entirely carried by a fantastic performance from Servillo. The wide emotional spectrum displayed by Servillo is executed with such expression that we have no choice but to remain engaged by his acting. Effective supporting roles from D’Amore and others further enhance this film being centred on the acting.

Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is a “must-see,” it is worth the experience. Especially if you happen to be Neapolitan.



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