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I'm Not Scared(Io non ho paura)

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Italy, Spain, United Kingdom · 2003
Rated R · 1h 48m
Director Gabriele Salvatores
Starring Giuseppe Cristiano, Dino Abbrescia, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Diego Abatantuono
Genre Mystery, Drama, Thriller, Crime

In a small town in Italy in1978, 9-year-old Michele is playing one day when he finds Fillipo, a boy about his age who is being held captive in a hidden chamber in the ground. Though terrified, Michele decides to keep his discovery of Fillipo a secret as he tries to figure out what to do next. A stunningly shot coming of age mystery that is as much an homage to the beauty of the Italian countryside as it is a story about a seemingly small, sleepy town keeping a huge secret.

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What are critics saying?


Chicago Reader by

This extraordinary Italian thriller is a study in contrasts: light versus dark, youth versus maturity, the playful versus the lethal.


The New Yorker by David Denby

A lyrical throwback to such movies as René Clément's "Forbidden Games" (1952) and other works of the humanist European cinema of a half century ago. [12 April 2003, p. 89]


Variety by David Rooney

While another director might have imbued the story of a Sicilian boy awakened to his parents' involvement in child abduction with more emotional weight and thematic depth, Salvatores' classically illustrative treatment should open arthouse doors for the visually sumptuous production.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

With its unique perspective on both the coming-of-age and thriller genres, the movie deserves to be seen by a wider audience than the one that normally frequents subtitled movies.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

Cinematographer Italo Petriccione gives the film a dramatic look, but that never compensates for the lack of actual drama; when so much of the conflict concerns Cristiano's reluctance to betray his father, it might have helped to spend more time on exploring that relationship than on capturing what light looks like when it pours in from a cellar door.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

With a taste for dark lyricism, the director delicately emphasizes the contrast between surface innocence and subterranean danger, and between grown-up secrets and boyhood bravery.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

The upshot is a general fog of two-dimensional characterization, slowly churning plot gearwork, and an ineffective air of forced lyricism.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

In the guise of a nerve-jangling thriller, director Gabriele Salvatores, an Oscar winner for "Mediterraneo," delivers a fierce, frightening and deeply moving study of childhood. It's a keeper.

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