Review: ‘Days of Grave’

Scenarist turned helmer Claver Salizzato's first feature overreaches and comes up with a steaming fist of cardboard alla carbonara in the form of "Days of Grace," a would-be WW2 epic that's deficient on every level.

Scenarist turned helmer Claver Salizzato’s first feature overreaches and comes up with a steaming fist of cardboard alla carbonara in the form of “Days of Grace,” a would-be WW2 epic that’s deficient on every level. Obviously intended for two-part telecast — midpoint intermission break makes that quite plain — romantic drama sorely lacks the budgetary resources to pass muster even on home sets, leaving its nonstop cliches stranded between torpor and unintentional humor.

Raised in the ever-so-idyllic South Tirol, inseparable brothers Wolfgang and Helberg promptly separate when former wins the hand of Marthe, a bodacious peasant-goddess. In a pique, blond Helberg goes off to join the Nazis, becoming a stock remorseless-fascist-meanie, while swarthy Wolfgang joins the nice Italian troops … who fight for fascism, too, but never mind. It’s bro vs. bro once Italy surrenders but Germany doesn’t; post-conflict, surviving sib must seek out the missing-in-action Marthe. Leads, clearly cast for model-perfect looks, at least deliver eye candy; less fortunate are vets Sarah Miles, ludicrously cast as the boys’ weepy Italian mama, and Ricky Tognazzi, ditto as an Italo officer. Dialogue is banal, production package perilously low-grade.

Days of Grave

Italy

Production

A Metropolis Films production. Produced by Enzo Gallo. Directed, written by Claver Salizzato.

Crew

Camera (color), Pino Pinori; editor, Anna Napoli; music, Paolo Rustichelli; production designer, Maurizio Mattei. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (World Cinema), Aug. 30, 2001. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Daniele Lotti, Liberto Rabal, Mandala Tayde, Sarah Miles, Ricky Tognazzi, Ugo Pagliai, Riccardo Salerno, Francesco Venditti, Hristo Shopov.
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