Review: ‘The Bogeyman’

"The Bogeyman" recycles shop-worn Italo nostalgia without giving it a fresh coat of paint.

Grafting Felliniesque touches onto a wannabe autobiography, actor-helmer Sergio Rubini’s “The Bogeyman” recycles shop-worn Italo nostalgia without giving it a fresh coat of paint. Pic further indulges Rubini’s aversion to art critics (“At a Glance”), here seen through a child’s eyes in ’60s provincial Puglia, where a dreamer father and a rakish uncle educate the kid in the ways of the world. Big-name cast helped “Bogeyman” open at No. 8 in early December, but couldn’t sustain the momentum.

Pic is a long flashback by Gabriele (Fabrizio Gifuni) to a time when, as a boy (Guido Giaquinto), he witnessed his station-master dad, Ernesto (Rubini), pursue his dreams of becoming a painter. Ernesto gets his chance at a solo exhibition but has his hopes destroyed by pompous critic Venusio (Vito Signorile). Narrative plays like an inexpertly developed short story, while borrowings from Fellini (fantasized figures from the past, etc.) feel secondhand. As in many Rubini films, the female roles (Valeria Golino as Gabriele’s mom, for example) are either underdeveloped or not prominent. However, as the uncle, Riccardo Scarmacio shows he’s still growing as an enjoyable screen presence.

The Bogeyman



A 01 Distribution release of a BiancaFilm, RAI Cinema presentation of a BiancaFilm production, in association with RAI Cinema. Produced by Donatella Botti. Directed by Sergio Rubini. Screenplay, Domenico Starnone, Carla Cavalluzzi, Rubini.


Camera (color), Fabio Cianchetti; editor, Esmeralda Calabria; music, Nicola Piovani; production designer, Luca Gobbi; costume designer, Maurizio Millenotti. Reviewed at Alcazar, Rome, Dec. 8, 2009. Original title: L'uomo nero. Running time: 118 MIN.


Sergio Rubini, Valeria Golino, Riccardo Scamarcio, Fabrizio Gifuni, Guido Giaquinto, Anna Falchi, Margherita Buy, Vito Signorile, Maurizio Micheli, Vittorio Ciorcalo, Mario Maranzana, Mariolina De Fano, Adelaide Di Bitonto, Pierluigi Corallo, Nicoletta Carbonara, Isabella Ragno.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety