Italian kidnap drama from director Gabriel Salvatores
OPENS MARCH 5, CERT PG, 110 MINS
Shot under the brilliant blue skies of southern Italy, I’m Not Scared is both a gripping thriller and an unsettling story of children struggling to make sense of an ugly adult word. It’s set in the summer of 1978, when Italy was suffering an epidemic of child kidnappings. When 10-year-old Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano) is playing with friends in some abandoned farm buildings, he’s horrified to discover a boy chained up in a cellar. Overcoming his fear, he gradually befriends the captive. Meanwhile, his home life is in upheaval due to the return of his macho, bullying father after a long absence. He’s brought with him a menacing “friend”, Sergio, from the north. As police helicopters and TV broadcasts start to disrupt the rhythm of Michele’s blithe childhood days, he’s forced to make agonising decisions. Salvatores has conjured superb performances from his child-actors, and his use of landscape and wildlife amplifies his theme of a natural order under threat from brutal, conniving man.