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Review: Don’t Move (2004)

Directed by: | 125 minutes | | Actors: , Sergio Castellitto, , , , , , , , ,

Is there such a thing as genuine melodrama? A story in which the drama regularly flies off the bend, the tears flow continuously, but where the viewer can still empathize with lifelike characters? Anyone familiar with the work of directors like Pedro Almodóvar or opera composers like Puccini already knows that the answer to this question must be a resounding yes. And for those who still have doubts, there is now the Italian “Non ti muovere”.

Actor and director Sergio Castellitto’s melodrama tackles a number of chewed-out topics: love, betrayal, remorse and the inadequacy of human communication. The plot is about a married man’s passion for a young woman, the choices he must make and the drama that ensues. The theme is the story of Angela, the daughter of protagonist Timoteo, who has to fight for her life after a scooter accident.

Sergio Castellitto has taken quite a few risks with this novel adaptation. The tempo is very slow, the dialogues and interactions alternately subtle and explosive, and combined with the soap-like plot and sentimental , that could have turned out catastrophic. The way in which the two lovers make love for the first time is morally rather dubious and that will affect the sequel. In addition, the eye-catcher of this film, the Spanish beauty Penélope Cruz, has had to undergo a major transformation. With twenty layers of filler, a gap between her teeth, a head like a drowning street cat, drooping shoulders and heels that are way too high, the good person really doesn’t look like much. Brave of Cruz for daring to do this.

Despite those risky elements, the film is more than worth watching. This is mainly due to the excellent acting of Cruz, Castellitto and Gerini. Despite the sketchy nature of their characters, they manage to portray lifelike characters that slowly but surely win over and move the spectator. Characters who are by no means always likeable, but which make them seem all the more human. Characters who do require some empathy from the spectator, since their true nature only shines beneath the surface and their actions are never explicitly explained.

Add to this a stylized and sometimes original design, mirrored scenes, intelligent details and dialogues, and the verdict must be that “Non ti muovere” is finally again quite an Italian drama. Certainly not a masterpiece, the story is too corny for that and the film just flies off the bend just a little too often. But for fans of a solid piece of European drama, “Non ti muovere” is really a very best film.

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