Miramax Home Entertainment presents I'M NOT SCARED, the suspenseful and compelling thriller about a young boy who discovers a shocking secret. This masterfully crafted, haunting film is directed by Gabriele Salvatores, dir... more »ector of the Academy Award(R) winning film "Mediterraneo" (Best Foreign Language Film, 1991). In I'M NOT SCARED, something sinister is lurking under the surface of 10-year old Michele's (Guiseppe Cristiano) idyllic summer. While the days in his remote southern Italian village are filled with the familiar routines of childhood, a chance discovery leads to a shocking revelation. Now, suddenly beyond the point-of-no-return, Michele digs further to find that even his own parents may be involved in a monstrous crime..« less
""I'm not scared" is the kind of film that gives you a headache afterwards from all the contemplation that it forces you into. You will not be able to stop thinking about the many questions and implications posed by this most troublesome film. It is an absolutely brilliant movie, almost ruinous in the depth and complexity of its underlying themes. "I'm not scared" is a story about a young Italian boy, but the movie is overwhelmingly mature and mesmerisingly developed.
Some of the other reviewers have very unscrupulously given away the main "surprise" of the film. Since the discovery is half the fun, I would not deprive you of the pleasure by spoiling it for you. Thus I am forced to "describe around" the movie without actually giving away the most crucial parts of the plot.
Suffice to say that the story revolves around a young, naive, but pure-hearted boy Michele, who is growing up in a small rural Italian village. He makes a shocking discovery and soon finds himself entangled in a world he does not fully understand. His parents, and perhaps the entire village, harbour an unspeakable secret. There are many important themes in the movie. Perhaps the most obvious one is Michele's premature coming-of-age; the end of innocence. Michele is forced by fate to deal with tough moral issues which no boy his age should have to deal with.
Disillusionment is another major theme. Every child begins his/her life believing his parents to be infallible and all-knowing, all-protecting. If one makes some grave mistake, surely mommy or daddy will fix it and make it better. Every child must necessarily go through the potentially traumatic discovery of his/her parents' imperfection as part of growing up. Michele is forced to experience this on a devastating scale. As he feels the world he thought he knew crumble above him, he is forced to slowly accept that he needs to personally step up to the plate.
The final, and in my opinion perhaps the most important theme, is: "what does it mean to be a Hero"? This is a favourite theme in movies, across a wide variety of genres. Films as different as the "Spiderman" series and Jet Li's "Hero" each give their own interpretation. In "I'm Not Scared", the question is only hinted at, and the answer is only given in muted voices and subtle suggestions. Yet it pervades the entire story. The young actor who plays Michele brilliantly portrays his character's confusion, frustration, and ultimate acceptance (of what he must do) as he tries to grapple with and understand the great evils going on over his head. The world of grownups has never looked dirtier.
However, I don't think the answer is something as simple as "do what your heart tells you" or "do the right thing"; it's much more nuanced. Almost none of the characters in the movie are one-dimensional or "black-and-white". Michele's mother is clearly just as trapped as her son in a plan not of her deivising. Michele's father is an even more fascinating and morally ambiguous character.
The ending of the film is somewhat predictable and perhaps too poignant. However, there is a completeness, a 'unity' to it that brings the movie full circle. Something about the story demands this ending; none other would do. One thing is for certain; by the end of the movie, Michele has indeed become a Hero."
Debra Styles | troy, ny | 10/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great film with a haunting soundtrack. It's too bad these types of movies aren't typical of US film makers. The one thing I've always appreciated about foreign film makers is their honest portrayl of children and childhood....no fear of sending the wrong message to a paranoid culture. If you love boys or boyhood and can remember your own childhood you'll love this film. It's endearing, suspensful, and stays with you. It's definitely one of the best of the year...foreign or otherwise, and I'm an avid moviegoer with little tolerance for bad films. Check it out!"
I'm Not Scared
Debra Styles | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm Not Scared is an Italian movie categorized as a thriller. The protagonist is a young boy who discovers a terrible secret in an abandoned house. Despite his family's involvement, he is compelled to do what he feels he must. Beautifully filmed, this movie will move you from terror to sadness and back again. It is extremely well-written and the children are amazing actors. The best foreign film I've seen since Amelie."
A Child's Moral Dilemma.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 10/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I'm Not Scared" is a contemplative story set in the picturesque Italian countryside that has a heart of wrenching emotions and moral crisis. Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano) is a 10-year-old boy living with his parents and sister in rural Italy in 1978, momentarily happy that his father (Dino Abbrescia) has returned from an unexplained absence. One day Michele finds another boy (Mattia Di Pierro) being held captive in a hole in the ground just outside of his village. Both boys are imaginative and pensive by nature, and Michele doesn't immediately ask the obvious question: Why is the boy in the hole? Instead he enjoys creating fantastic scenarios to explain it. But eventually he suspects, and then understands, who is keeping the boy a prisoner.
"I'm Not Scared" is based on the novel of the same name by Niccolo Ammaniti. The film's thoughtful pace and beautiful landscapes belie the its emotional impact. The boy in the hole is in a horrific situation, and Michele is gradually coming to grips with the adult world that surrounds him, into which he has either not previously had insight or has not taken much notice. Italo Petriccione's cinematography reveals the flora and fauna of the region and gives the audience a strong sense of environment. Director Gabriele Savatores has chosen to pay particular attention to the sights and sounds of nature against which rural life plays out, especially the natural world's predators. "I'm Not Scared" exploits a clear demarcation between the worlds of adults and children. The story takes place mostly among the children, whose motivations, imaginations, and relationships exist primarily among themselves, so they sometimes behave differently than one might expect. "I'm Not Scared" is more powerful for the decision to observe the characters, not to pity them. This is one of the great films with a child protagonist. Italian with English subtitles.
The DVD: No bonus features. Subtitles are available in English or Spanish. Captioning for the hearing impaired is available in English."
I was hooked from the beginning...
Diane Moore | 03/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michele lives in Italy in the late seventies and spends his days playing with the same friends in his sparse neighborhood and biking through the fields with his little sister.
One day, he comes across an abandoned house, where he finds a bowl that looks strangely like those in his own house. There, he discovers a horrifying secret. Suddenly, he is involved and there is no turning back. Should he pretend that he never found out or should his risk his own life and possibly save another?
This movie kept me on the edge of my seat. It was suspenseful and touching at the same time. It's scary that things like this have happened. (and still do)