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FILMS / REVIEWS Italy

Review: Gli uomini d’oro

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- Vincenzo Alfieri’s second directorial effort recalls a 1990s event, falling somewhere between heist movie, film noir and crime comedy and starring an unusual Fabio De Luigi as its protagonist

Review: Gli uomini d’oro
Fabio De Luigi and Giampaolo Morelli in Gli uomini d’oro

“If they were to make a film about it, it would start out like Monicelli’s Big Deal on Madonna Street and end up like Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs”. This is how, in 1996, journalist Meo Ponte of the Italian daily La Repubblica described an armoured truck robbery which was carried out by the very same men who drove the vehicle every day of their working lives: two employees of the Turin Post Office. This sensational news item is making its return to the big screen – following its previous outing in 2000 in Gianluca Maria Tavarelli’s This Is Not Paradise – via Gli uomini d’oro, the second film directed by the actor and screenwriter (and in this instance, editor) Vincenzo Alfieri, on the heels of I peggiori [+see also:
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.

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Heist movie, crime comedy, drama, film noir… These are the many ways in which this film could be described; a film of fluctuating tone and genre, and, in certain respects, a rather disorienting watch. Starting with the cast: heroes of Italian comedy Giampaolo Morelli (Love and Bullets [+see also:
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), Edoardo Leo (I Can Quit Whenever I Want [+see also:
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), but, first and foremost, Fabio De Luigi (the face of comic, do-gooding and slightly bumbling characters, in dozens of films), play dark and tormented souls, intent on revenge and prepared to do anything to achieve this. These three men are the architects and authors of the sensational coup which consists of swapping the sacks full of banknotes transported by the postal service’s armoured truck with bundles of wastepaper (with the help of “little” Luciano Giuseppe Ragone), a perfect plan which involves neither weapons nor bloodshed, but which will be, unfortunately, littered with errors.

The story is told to us from the protagonists’ various points of view, subdivided into three chapters: that of “Playboy” Luigi (the ever-more Neapolitan Morelli), who’s close to drawing his “baby pension” after just a couple of decades’ work, and who dreams of opening a snack bar in Costa Rica, but who, as a result of the new government’s legislation, finds he will now need to work for another twenty years before doing so, and this in a city which has has no place for him; “Hunter” Alvise (De Luigi), a gruff man suffering from a heart condition and a seemingly model employee who works two other jobs to ensure his family want for nothing (his wife is Susy Laude); and “Wolf” (Leo, who gained kilos and muscle for the role), a frustrated former boxer who dreams of marrying his beautiful and contemptuous South American, go-go dancer girlfriend (Mariela Garriga). Also starring in the cast are Matilde Gioli and Gian Marco Tognazzi, with the latter stepping into the shoes of a slightly comic-book couturier who leads an unexpected double life.

Written by Alfieri alongside Alessandro Aronadio (director of Ears [+see also:
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and Just Believe [+see also:
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), Renato Sannio and Giuseppe G. Stasi, the film looks to drill down into the different reasons which drive the three characters - regular, unlikely individuals – to orchestrate the “coup of a lifetime”, rather than wanting to explore the event itself as Tavarelli’s film did. Between football-themed games and arguments, frivolity and family oppression, jealousy and frustration (“You’d rather spend twenty years in prison that twenty years working at the Post Office?” - “Is there a difference?”), all set against a cold, inhospitable and racist Turin, which is very well shot by Davide Manca (Tainted Souls [+see also:
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and the award-winning TV series The Deer Hunter, among his many works), the film avails itself of a remarkable aesthetic look and sound (the score comes courtesy of Francesco Cerasi, who scooped an Italian Silver Ribbon award in 2011) to tell the story of a group of fragile individuals who fall victim to their own dreams and turn to crime out of necessity. But it also makes the point that we’re not all cut out for the world of crime.

Gli uomini d’oro is produced by Fulvio and Federica Lucisano’s Italian International Film, together with Rai Cinema, and was made with the support of the Film Commission Torino Piemonte and the Piemonte Film TV Fund. The film will be released in Italian cinemas today, Thursday 7 November, with over 300 copies distributed by 01.

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(Translated from Italian)

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