Friday, February 17, 2017

Suburra (2015) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 4
Movie Name/Year: Suburra (2015)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama
Length: 134 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Cattleya, Rai Cinema, La Chauve Souris, Cofinova 11, Cinemage 9, Canal+, Cine +, Indie Sales, Indie Invest, Haut et Court, Ministero per I Beni e le Attivita Cultuali (MiBAC)
Producer: Marco Chimenz, Matteo De Laurentiis, Nicolas Eschbach, Gina Gardini, Serge Hayat, Gianluca Leoncini, Éric Névé, Giovanni Stabilini, Riccardo Tozzi
Director: Stefano Sollima
Writer: Giancarlo De Cataldo, Carlo Bonini, Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli
Actors: Greta Scarano, Pierfrancesco Favino, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Giulia Gorietti, Elio Germano, Claudio Amendola, Alessandro Borghi, Lidia Vitale, Marco Quaglia, Yulia Kolomiets, Giacomo Ferrar, Adamo Dionisi, Francesco Sechi, Antonello Fassari, Ahmed Hafiene, Giulia Maria Fiume, Svetlana Kevral, Michele Bevilacqua, Davide Iacopini, Alberto Testone
Stunts: Paolo Antonini, David Zamperla, Mirko Zamperla

Speech Available: Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
Subtitles Available: English, French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish

Blurb from Netflix: A grueling battle over turning a seaside town near Rome into a gambling paradise exposes criminal rivalries and endemic corruption on a grand scale.

Selina’s Point of View:
So, um, I apparently know some Italian. Enough to be able to understand a lot of this film without use of subtitles. I guess I picked up more than I ever realized hanging out with the Italian families I knew as a child. Stuff apparently stuck with me. Subtitles were only really needed for occasional words.

That was a bit weird. I couldn’t speak any of it if I tried – other than the odd word here and there – but I apparently understand more than I realized.

Of all the foreign films to understand, though… why did it have to be this one? It played on every single Italian stereotype and, aside from a few visually amazing scenes, it was pretty much bullshit.

Suburra felt like it dragged on for years. It didn’t help that the majority of the soundtrack was a single fucking song. It was like I was an angsty teen again listening to some emotional song on repeat after a break-up. I didn’t even like being an angsty teen back when I WAS one. It was pretty much unbearable to experience even a flashback of that point of life.

I might have even been happy to hear a song I recognized, but not twenty times in the same movie. (I didn’t count. Could be an over, or under, exaggeration.)

The acting was fine, but it didn’t off-set the horribly shallow and disconnected plot. Maybe there’s a culturally Italian connection that went right over my head… but if I was going to recognize culture from anywhere else in the world, it would be Italy. I grew up around Italian people, I hung out in Italian neighborhoods, I married into an Italian family… I’ve always adored the culture, the people, and – apparently – the language. I don’t think I missed anything. I think it was just badly written.

All-in-all? Not my favorite Foreign Film Friday. I hope we have better luck next week.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was excited to see that we’d landed an Italian movie for our Foreign Film Friday this week. It doesn’t feel quite as comfortable to me as Spanish, but it’s a close second. I’m not fluent in either language, but I can understand some; provided that the speaker isn’t talking too fast. Between my music background and the bits I learned from my brother from his time stationed with the Air Force in Italy, I was fairly giddy that I understood bits here and there without needing the subtitles.

Of course, that’s what I usually rant about in my reviews of our foreign films, isn’t it? It might seem like a little thing, but subs can make or break the viewer’s experience of a foreign movie. I’m happy to advise that the subtitles for this film were handled well. It was an odd half-on and half-off the movie letterbox placement, but I believe that helped its legibility.

I wish I could say that I liked this movie. I just didn’t feel like I was watching anything I hadn’t seen before time and time again. The exploration of the connection of mobsters and politics isn’t new. There wasn’t enough fleshing-out of some aspects of the plot. This might be due to the fact that Netflix plans to release Suburra as one of their original series sometime this year. Filming began on the TV series project in November of 2016. While this tidbit of trivia was confirmed via articles with Variety and Forbes, IMDb doesn’t currently have any information on the series. Allegedly, some of the same cast from the movie will be featured.

One of those cast members would be Alessandro Borghi (Ultimo 4 - L'occhio del falco, Roma criminale, Don't Be Bad), who played the character: Number 8. It’s a sure sign that I’m bored with a movie if I find myself pondering a character’s tattoos more than being interested in the scene they’re in. I have a tattoo that wraps around my right ankle. It was excruciating over my shin and Achilles tendon. I can only imagine how unpleasant getting tattooed on the head or neck must feel.

On the bright side, I discovered the name of the musical group that performed a song I enjoy and as yet hadn’t been able to pin down. The entire soundtrack was performed by a group called M83. (For the record, it’s “Wait.”) Their music appears in all sorts of soundtracks for screens both big and small. Their song “Midnight City,” for example, appears in Grand Theft Auto V (2013), Warm Bodies (2013), and 22 Jump Street (2014). As a crazy coincidence, I remember thinking to myself while watching this movie that the soundtrack seemed so familiar – like someone was trying to capture the vibe from the Oblivion (2013) score. Turns out it’s the same group.

That’s my takeaway from this film – tattoos and music with a side of linguistics. As it stands now, I have zero interest in watching the series when or if it is eventually released on Netflix. I don’t think this movie was necessarily bad. I’m just left feeling “meh” about it. Note to parents. Consider this to be a hard R-rating.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 80%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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