Independent Italian producer Claudio Bonivento, who was instrumental in putting directors Marco Risi and Ricky Tognazzi and actor Claudio Amendola on the map with such films as "Forever Mery," "Ultra" and "La scorta," moves into directing with the crime drama "Other Men." While it's quite engrossing, and well performed by a high-caliber cast, the ingredients of this tale of latter-day gangsters who ruled Milan in the '70s are way too familiar and its execution too heavily styled on vintage Scorsese, "GoodFellas" in particular. Theatrical profile looks to be modest.
Based on real-life characters (with their names changed) documented in the book "Io il Tebano" (I, the Theban) by Antonio Carlucci and Paolo Rossetti, story centers on Michele Croce (Amendola), a twentysomething kid from Southern Italy with brawn and ambition who works his way up to become one of the most powerful figures of the Milanese underworld.
Opening in 1980, the action unfolds as an extended flashback during which the imprisoned Michele recaps his rise and fall for an investigating magistrate. Too hot-tempered to hold down a regular job, he teams with trusted friend Salvatore (Tony Sperandeo), initially on petty thefts and small-time holdups. Their operation soon expands, bringing the small band to the attention of greedy gambling boss Loris Corbi (Ennio Fantastichini).
Indebted to Michele when he saves his life, Loris offers him a partnership, which he accepts to get a foot in the door of the big-league crime world. When Loris is arrested, he attempts to continue running things from inside through the gutsy manicurist (Veronica Pivetti) whom he marries in prison. But Michele’s refusal to comply weakens the unity of his clan, leaving him open to betrayal.
Always a strong screen presence, Amendola makes a sympathetic antihero, divided by his instincts as a husband and father and his credo that it’s “better to be a criminal and somebody than an honest man and nobody.” Backup cast also is generally solid, though scripting of certain characters, especially the women, could have been more three-dimensional.
While Bonivento corrals all the dramatic elements serviceably enough, his direction tends toward flatness, and the action has a monotone feel. The film is undistinguished visually, and saddled with a rather old-fashioned score.
A Columbia TriStar Films Italia release (in Italy) of an Intl. Dean Film production. Produced by Pio Angeletti, Adriano De Micheli.
Directed by Claudio Bonivento. Screenplay, Franco Ferrini, Bonivento, Furio Scarpelli, freely adapted from the book "Io il Tebano" by Antonio Carlucci, Paolo Rossetti
Camera (Cinecitta color), Sergio D'Offizi; editor, Alberto Gallitti; music, Gianni Coscia, Fred Ferrari; art direction, Luciano Sagoni; set decoration, Elio Micheli; costume design, Bruna Parmesan; sound, Gianni Zampagni; assistant director, Angelo Vicari. Reviewed at Anica screening room, Rome, Aug. 6, 1997. Running time: 91 MIN.
Five of the last eight best feature winners at the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have gone on to win best picture at the Oscars, including a four-year streak from 2013-2016. It was a steadily evolving status quo that led former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governor Bill Mechanic to question his organization’s [...]
Bo Burnham won his third award in three weeks for “Eighth Grade” at the Spirit Awards and said he wants the film’s 15-year-old Elsie Fisher to direct him. “I’d love to work with Elsie again,” Burnham said backstage after winning the Best First Screenplay trophy. “She wants to direct so I’d love to switch roles [...]
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” screenwriter Nicole Holofcener offered a blunt assessment of the lack of Academy Awards recognition for director Marielle Heller, and women directors everywhere. “I feel Marielle was cheated and I feel badly about that,” Holofcener said backstage after winning a Spirit Award for screenplay with Jeff Whitty. Holofcener was originally attached [...]
Some directors make their presence felt in every frame of their films, while others operate in service of the stories and the stars. There is no such thing as an egoless director, but Stanley Donen, who died at age 94, made every effort to efface himself from the picture in order to let a film’s [...]
Glenn Close, Ethan Hawke and “If Beale Street Could Talk” took home the top prizes at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. Close stole the Aubrey Plaza-hosted show by inviting her dog Pip up on stage to accept best female lead, causing massive oohs and ahhs [...]
The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards took place on a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., with Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” taking the top prize for best feature along with best director for Jenkins. Ethan Hawke and Glenn Close took the prizes for best male lead and best female lead, respectively. Bo Burnham took [...]
Watching the Academy Awards telecast, then grousing about it the next day, has become a hipster parlor game — it’s what the Complete Oscar Experience now is. The complaints are legion, and we all know what they are, because we’ve all made them. The show was too long. The host bombed. His or her opening [...]