Country: Italy, France
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Matteo Garrone
I’m not afraid to admit that I actually prefer this film to Garrone’s previous characters-melange crime-drama GOMORRAH (2008), albeit both won Cannes’s Grand Prize of the Jury in their respective years.
I watched the film in KVIFF a few days ago, and I am thrilling to see that there is a change of attitude in detailing a riveting story of Naples people’s mundane life, about a reality-show sparks a never-be-quenched yearning of a Naples fishmonger’s pipe dream of becoming a reality-star, which turns him paranoid about his surroundings and mars his and his family’s life, and all winds up in an ambiguous ending.
REALITY has a drastic alternation in its visual impetus, a Fellini-esque Napoli milieu (with the mammoth structure of kins under a dilapidated tableaux), which could instantly gain some positive impression from the film’s opening sequence, which induces a tremendously lush wedding ceremony. A comical tone has never ceased to hover around the typical but accurate portrayal of the workaday life of our protagonist and his family (a hanky-panky retail business of pasta-making robots is the highlight) until the latter part when everyone onscreen and offscreen realize the one-sided opportunity will never arrive except for our leading man in the film, so literally how miserable his ending would be has grown into the main concern hanging the film’s weight. And there would be a great chance it would plunge into an irreversible maw of tragedy, but luckily it doesn’t, Garrone alters a lightly grotesque route and resorts to a more theatrical maneuver to leave the finale in a spell bound shot, effectively ridicules and bashes the reality-show oriented credo in the present-time.
The gorgeous score from extraordinarily talented composer Alexandre Desplat is another selling point, seamlessly goes with the plot, and thwarts a likely bathos when the soothing comedic temper is steadily mitigated and the film veers to a suspicious restlessness and ultimately the irrational madness.
The cast is plainly spot-on in spite of Aniello Arena’s over-handsome and beefcake image as a fishmonger, Raffaele Ferrante’s rendering of a reality-star who originally rose from the mass, is both hilarious and sarcastic in stressing the ill-infused celebrity-rules notion, which is indubitably not the only entrance to fame and fortune for those wide-eyed dreamers.