Reality Reviews

  • May 24, 2018

    Garrone is a pleasure to watch. The long takes, the atmosphere, the photography, the dreamlike music and the colorful characters: simply a pleasure. The movie is a bitter-sweet journey into obsession and fate, and reality tv and religion are the 2 training horses. "Never give up".

    Garrone is a pleasure to watch. The long takes, the atmosphere, the photography, the dreamlike music and the colorful characters: simply a pleasure. The movie is a bitter-sweet journey into obsession and fate, and reality tv and religion are the 2 training horses. "Never give up".

  • Mar 06, 2016

    Matteo Garrone made a name for himself internationally back in 2008 with the release of Gomorrah, an Italian crime epic with a lot to say about the sociopolitical state of his home country. Gomorrah won Garrone the Grand Prix at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and his latest, Reality, won the same award in 2012, though the two films couldn't be any more different. Reality is an ink-black comedy about a fishmonger with aspirations to appear on reality television. What begins as an affable portrait of a family turns into something damn near approaching tragedy-a psychological devolution brought on my delusions of bright-lights-big-city grandeur. It's a tough film to watch in some respects because it doesn't hide anything, it's rarely subtle, and it doesn't pull any punches. But not unlike the reality shows Garrone seems to be commenting on (if tangentially), it's hard to look away from Reality. Our "hero" is Luciano (Aniello Arena), a really charming guy who owns a fish stand in Naples and has three kids with his wife, Maria (Loredana Simioli). They live in a ruinous (but beautiful) complex with their entire extended family-aunts, uncles, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. And the family is a hoot. You won't mistake them for Italy's upper crust, but they have good hearts and are mostly happy. Things take a turn for Luciano after he auditions for the reality show Big Brother. He impresses the casting crew enough to earn a callback in Rome, but he's one of seemingly thousands to do so, and for some reason, he's utterly convinced that he'll be asked to enter the house. Upon returning home, he thinks every stranger is a spy sent by the show to observe him in his natural habitat. He talks of selling his business because he'll be set for life after winning the show's top prize. He begins stalking a former contestant who he met once at a wedding. His whole world is going to hell, and he doesn't have a clue. The film works primarily because Aniello Arena gives such a dedicated performance. His Luciano has a big personality, and you can definitely see him on a show like Big Brother. But there's no super compelling reason why he'd be a casting shoo-in. And when he gets on this kick, waiting for the show to give him the go-ahead, Arena goes for it with a gusto. He becomes truly scary without sacrificing any of the qualities we've come to know him for-charmer, loving father, etc. By the film's haunting final shot, he is a man absolutely consumed by an obsession, but the transformation was fluid and, ultimately, quite an astounding achievement. Reality also looks great. The film is bright, but Garrone employs a yellow-green tint to the surroundings, which visually remind us something in this world is amiss. He's also quite fond of overhead shots, but some, including the film's opening and closing shots, are bursting with subtext and meaning. While it might seem like Garrone is commenting on the unfortunate side effects of the reality TV revolution, the film's themes feel more universal than that. Shots of Luciano almost lusting after Enzo, the star of the most recent Big Brother season, speak more toward the nature of celebrity-how fickle it is, how close it is to us now. Because we can speed up the process nowadays, it gives people like Luciano unreasonable expectations, feeding the sometimes deluded notion that they deserve the adoration of the masses. Reality filters all these ideas into one sad individual. It's a character study of the highest order. http://www.johnlikesmovies.com/reality-review/

    Matteo Garrone made a name for himself internationally back in 2008 with the release of Gomorrah, an Italian crime epic with a lot to say about the sociopolitical state of his home country. Gomorrah won Garrone the Grand Prix at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and his latest, Reality, won the same award in 2012, though the two films couldn't be any more different. Reality is an ink-black comedy about a fishmonger with aspirations to appear on reality television. What begins as an affable portrait of a family turns into something damn near approaching tragedy-a psychological devolution brought on my delusions of bright-lights-big-city grandeur. It's a tough film to watch in some respects because it doesn't hide anything, it's rarely subtle, and it doesn't pull any punches. But not unlike the reality shows Garrone seems to be commenting on (if tangentially), it's hard to look away from Reality. Our "hero" is Luciano (Aniello Arena), a really charming guy who owns a fish stand in Naples and has three kids with his wife, Maria (Loredana Simioli). They live in a ruinous (but beautiful) complex with their entire extended family-aunts, uncles, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. And the family is a hoot. You won't mistake them for Italy's upper crust, but they have good hearts and are mostly happy. Things take a turn for Luciano after he auditions for the reality show Big Brother. He impresses the casting crew enough to earn a callback in Rome, but he's one of seemingly thousands to do so, and for some reason, he's utterly convinced that he'll be asked to enter the house. Upon returning home, he thinks every stranger is a spy sent by the show to observe him in his natural habitat. He talks of selling his business because he'll be set for life after winning the show's top prize. He begins stalking a former contestant who he met once at a wedding. His whole world is going to hell, and he doesn't have a clue. The film works primarily because Aniello Arena gives such a dedicated performance. His Luciano has a big personality, and you can definitely see him on a show like Big Brother. But there's no super compelling reason why he'd be a casting shoo-in. And when he gets on this kick, waiting for the show to give him the go-ahead, Arena goes for it with a gusto. He becomes truly scary without sacrificing any of the qualities we've come to know him for-charmer, loving father, etc. By the film's haunting final shot, he is a man absolutely consumed by an obsession, but the transformation was fluid and, ultimately, quite an astounding achievement. Reality also looks great. The film is bright, but Garrone employs a yellow-green tint to the surroundings, which visually remind us something in this world is amiss. He's also quite fond of overhead shots, but some, including the film's opening and closing shots, are bursting with subtext and meaning. While it might seem like Garrone is commenting on the unfortunate side effects of the reality TV revolution, the film's themes feel more universal than that. Shots of Luciano almost lusting after Enzo, the star of the most recent Big Brother season, speak more toward the nature of celebrity-how fickle it is, how close it is to us now. Because we can speed up the process nowadays, it gives people like Luciano unreasonable expectations, feeding the sometimes deluded notion that they deserve the adoration of the masses. Reality filters all these ideas into one sad individual. It's a character study of the highest order. http://www.johnlikesmovies.com/reality-review/

  • Jan 05, 2016

    One of the best Italian films I've seen. I bet this is way too close to the bone of anyone across the world who "dream" of being a reality TV star. Thinking about some of them watching this is what I enjoyed most about this film. It's a funny situation and a very enjoyable film.

    One of the best Italian films I've seen. I bet this is way too close to the bone of anyone across the world who "dream" of being a reality TV star. Thinking about some of them watching this is what I enjoyed most about this film. It's a funny situation and a very enjoyable film.

  • Nov 01, 2015

    Sharp dark satire that provides insight into obsession of fame and the famous.

    Sharp dark satire that provides insight into obsession of fame and the famous.

  • Oct 12, 2015

    Sarcastic & thought-provoking.

    Sarcastic & thought-provoking.

  • May 29, 2015

    Once again, I seem to be alone in my opinion on this film. I watched it again just to be sure I hadn't missed something. For me, this movie was just dull.

    Once again, I seem to be alone in my opinion on this film. I watched it again just to be sure I hadn't missed something. For me, this movie was just dull.

  • Edgar C Super Reviewer
    Apr 12, 2014

    Matteo Garrone, the 2008 winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival for the excellent <i>Gomorrah</i>, transfers his ambitious directing style with hundreds of extras, dozens of characters and invigorating environments to bring something that might sound questionable at first glance: a comedy about a charismatic fish stand owner who agrees to audition for the next Big Brother show and, in the wait of his possible acceptance into the House, develops an increasing paranoia that begins to affect his own life, his family relationships and his acquaintances. I'd never have the act of stereotyping as one of my intentions, but you know how the Italians are filmwise: intense dramatic overacting (which makes everything even more fun), complete families giving opinions actively about everything, a dynamic directing that moves the camera constantly here and there, towards every corner, because something is happening everywhere, all the time. Garrone is no exception to this approach of giving life to his little universe, and of portraying the complete family of the protagonist, which in this case, allows the entire plot to acquire a meaning. It is very important to point out that the topic of obsession presented here is tragic, even if overused. Garrone's scope allows to take a conventional audience message to a higher level of entertainment, making the situations more absorbing and his paranoia more tangible, especially with his occasional use of complicated long shots. Unfortunately, he never found the balance between drama, tragedy, comedy and satire. At the end, however, it is a story worth remembering, with a big payoff at the end. Personally, the ending scared me. 76/100

    Matteo Garrone, the 2008 winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival for the excellent <i>Gomorrah</i>, transfers his ambitious directing style with hundreds of extras, dozens of characters and invigorating environments to bring something that might sound questionable at first glance: a comedy about a charismatic fish stand owner who agrees to audition for the next Big Brother show and, in the wait of his possible acceptance into the House, develops an increasing paranoia that begins to affect his own life, his family relationships and his acquaintances. I'd never have the act of stereotyping as one of my intentions, but you know how the Italians are filmwise: intense dramatic overacting (which makes everything even more fun), complete families giving opinions actively about everything, a dynamic directing that moves the camera constantly here and there, towards every corner, because something is happening everywhere, all the time. Garrone is no exception to this approach of giving life to his little universe, and of portraying the complete family of the protagonist, which in this case, allows the entire plot to acquire a meaning. It is very important to point out that the topic of obsession presented here is tragic, even if overused. Garrone's scope allows to take a conventional audience message to a higher level of entertainment, making the situations more absorbing and his paranoia more tangible, especially with his occasional use of complicated long shots. Unfortunately, he never found the balance between drama, tragedy, comedy and satire. At the end, however, it is a story worth remembering, with a big payoff at the end. Personally, the ending scared me. 76/100

  • Apr 05, 2014

    Another masterpiece by Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah was the other one). Very interesting concept about a guy's obsession to transform his life and move away from his 'Reality'. The interesting fact about the lead actor is that he is serving life sentence for a multiple murders in Naples and was allowed to shoot for the movie during the day!

    Another masterpiece by Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah was the other one). Very interesting concept about a guy's obsession to transform his life and move away from his 'Reality'. The interesting fact about the lead actor is that he is serving life sentence for a multiple murders in Naples and was allowed to shoot for the movie during the day!

  • Feb 12, 2014

    Gli do 7/10 solo perché il film è ricercato nella fotografia e nei costumi e in generale si vede che c'è del talento artistico in chi lo ha realizzato; però ha anche delle pecche importanti. Primo il regista che usa la telecamera a braccio (o almeno l'effetto è quello) e allo stesso tempo disegna molte scene quasi irreali e fiabesche (su tutte la scena del matrimonio), fatte di colori e abiti molto forti (es: la famiglia che va a cinecittà è vestita come "I Tenenbaum"). A mio avviso le due cose cozzano, la telecamera che si muove come se fosse una telecamera non professionale va bene per i film crudi e realisti (andava bene in Gomorra infatti), non per ricreare immagini perfette come quelle delle fiabe (dove ci vuole una fotografia più quadrata e pulita). Inoltre il film vuole parlare di come ci si può ubriacare di successo (soprattutto quello effimero della televisione), però presenta una storia troppo strampalata per risultare credibile (e con poco mordente aggiungo io). Il regista voleva portare qualcosa di innovativo e forte, però secondo me mancano proprio l'idea complessiva di come rappresentare questa storia (che poi è il lavoro del regista).

    Gli do 7/10 solo perché il film è ricercato nella fotografia e nei costumi e in generale si vede che c'è del talento artistico in chi lo ha realizzato; però ha anche delle pecche importanti. Primo il regista che usa la telecamera a braccio (o almeno l'effetto è quello) e allo stesso tempo disegna molte scene quasi irreali e fiabesche (su tutte la scena del matrimonio), fatte di colori e abiti molto forti (es: la famiglia che va a cinecittà è vestita come "I Tenenbaum"). A mio avviso le due cose cozzano, la telecamera che si muove come se fosse una telecamera non professionale va bene per i film crudi e realisti (andava bene in Gomorra infatti), non per ricreare immagini perfette come quelle delle fiabe (dove ci vuole una fotografia più quadrata e pulita). Inoltre il film vuole parlare di come ci si può ubriacare di successo (soprattutto quello effimero della televisione), però presenta una storia troppo strampalata per risultare credibile (e con poco mordente aggiungo io). Il regista voleva portare qualcosa di innovativo e forte, però secondo me mancano proprio l'idea complessiva di come rappresentare questa storia (che poi è il lavoro del regista).

  • Feb 10, 2014

    Dark comedy...Grande Fratello

    Dark comedy...Grande Fratello