Based on the Gianrico Carofiglio novel, the film depicts the descent into hell of Giorgio (Germano), a model student and aspiring judge, dragged down by the "proletariat" Francesco (Michele Riondino, in his first starring film role) in a spiral of scams, drugs and rape, among the night-time streets and alleyways of Bari, continuously alternating between posh and seedy locations.
Germano is no longer a promising talent but an established one. His performance is solid and Rondino’s also convincing. Playing characters who appear different yet have the same thirst for omnipotence, they form a credible pair.
"I chose to adapt Carofiglio’s novel because it’s modern, it pays attention to the chiaroscuro of society but it also conveys something ancient, and because it also recalls 19th century novels, with main characters suspended between two historical eras,” said the director, surrounded by the entire cast as well as Carofiglio.
Stylistically, Vicari chooses to sink Giorgio into his secret past mostly through pov shots, with images that are often out of focus, fleeting and brusque, just like suddenly recalled memories. "I wanted to deconstruct more than construct this part,” said Germano, “until through Giorgio I myself was surprised by what was happening".
The more violent sequences have caused the film to be banned to minors under 14. Vicari is polemical: "Censorship is a throwback to the hypocritical and fallacious Middle Ages. The entire system should be overhauled".
Vittoria Scarpa cineuropa.org