(Review originally written at 2 May 2009)

It is debatable whether or not this movie is worthy of its title of early masterpiece from Roberto Rossellini but fact remains that this movie is simply a great movie about a real tough and dark period.

What foremost makes this so unique was that it got made so soon after the actual end of WW II and the end of reign of fascism. Therefore the overall feel and look of the movie seems very authentic. Basically all people involved in this movie in front and behind the cameras had to really go through the period as portrayed in this movie. There also weren't too many anti-Nazi movies around yet during that them, at least not movies that got made in Italy itself. This is one of the very first that shows the horrors the common Italian population had to go through and how a brave few tried to make a difference by fighting the fascist enemies.

It's a movie that features the common WW II movie ingredients focusing on the underground resistance, such as courage, loyalty and betrayal. In that way this movie is a real typical WW II, of which still so many get made. So perhaps in todays light this movie has to offer than it did in 1945. Not that it makes the movie worse though. Still I feel that the movie story could had been a bit more interesting and focused a more clear main plot-line and 'point' so to speak. But that's just not really the Italian-way.

The movie is made in a real typical Italian cinematic way, which means that it's slow at times and also heavily leans and depends on its leading characters. Not that that's a complaint though, since the movie really features some great characters who also get portrayed by some real capable actors.

The movie hasn't aged too well though, in terms of its picture quality. The movie could really use a restoration and re-release. Who knows, some day we might get lucky.

The movie shows that Roberto Rossellini was really a great director, who knew how to tell a story, with an eye for detail and realism.

It's not the most effective or intriguing WW II movie I've ever seen but it comes close enough.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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