The Italian Reviews

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Robert Davis
Paste Magazine
June 9, 2008
With a tensed brow, Kolya Spiridonov plays a boy perpetually hovering between anxiety and dogged determination, and the film walks the same line, unsure about where it's going but always moving forward regardless.
Tom Dawson
Total Film
January 24, 2008
Vividly characterised and convincingly acted (not least by Spiridonov), it makes for a fascinating portrait of a post-Communist society beset by crime and despair.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Tim Evans
Sky Movies
January 24, 2008
A stunningly powerful indictment of the weakest in thrall to a corrupt system.
Tom Dawson
Film4
January 24, 2008
An unsentimental and vividly characterized film which successfully combines melodrama and social analysis and features an impressive central performance from Spiridonov.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
January 24, 2008
Even when Kravchuck lets the story drift, the boy is a solid anchor.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
David Jenkins
Time Out
January 24, 2008
Andrei Kravchuk's film is sensitive to the hilt and pleasingly attuned to the guileless outlook of its hero.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
Patrick Peters
Empire Magazine
January 24, 2008
Despite channeling Dickensian melodrama, first-time director Andrei Kravchuk skilfully avoids wallowing in sentimentality.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
December 4, 2007
This 2005 story about a Russian boy whose mother has given him up may be derivative, but it's still engrossing, largely because of its appealing juvenile lead, Kolya Spiridonov.
November 4, 2007
It's a touching film about a little boy with the determination of a champ.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Amber Wilkinson
Eye for Film
August 9, 2007
It is hard-hitting, but with none of the fake, over-the-top violence of Hollywood fare, and packs an emotional punch without dredging it with sugar.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
May 25, 2007
What really makes this potentially melodramatic story so powerful is the incredibly intense and focused presence of little Kolya Spiridonov, who makes you believe Vanya's determination and grit every step of the way.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Chris Kaltenbach
Baltimore Sun
May 19, 2007
Like Vittorio De Sica, one of the great Italian neo-realists, Kravchuk populates his film with people, not paradigms; his characters are capable of good and evil, sometimes in equal measure.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
May 14, 2007
It is about love, family, and the power of kindness to overcome the cruelty in the world.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Robert W. Butler
Kansas City Star
May 11, 2007
There are shocking and heartbreaking moments scattered throughout The Italian, but [director] Kravchuk approaches them with a nonjudgmental, observational style that avoids most of the pitfalls of melodrama.
| Original Score: 3/4
Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
May 9, 2007
A throwback to neo-realist filmmaking . . . snowballs in emotion until later scenes are stomach-knotting in their tension. The film largely avoids sentiment with its muted score and shadowed close-ups.
Top Critic
April 30, 2007
This film is about many things, but the magic key that unlocks the treasure chest is literacy.
Top Critic
Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post
April 27, 2007
At times, the difficulties that Vanya encounters strain credulity. The Italian doesn't bother to infuse its characters with complex motivations. They're either Bad or Good.
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
April 25, 2007
An odd, beguiling little movie -- about two parts Dickens (with some Dickensian Chaplin thrown in) to one part Italian neorealist cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
April 21, 2007
With a riveting performance by young Kolya Spiridonov as the six year old Vanya, The Italian is a bitter sweet drama that captures the heartbreaking squalor of Russian orphans while highlighting the power of the spirit.
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
April 6, 2007
Cinematographer Aleksandr Burov captures a land of frost-coated fields, cracked plaster walls and weed-choked railways with a photojournalist's eye for the telling detail.
| Original Score: 3/4
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