Review: Italian Film’Don’t Be Bad’ is Grimy and Brutal

Friends for life since childhood, Cesare (Luca Marinelli) and Vittorio (Alessandro Borghi) have spent the better part of their primes living hard and fast, conning whoever has something to lose and fighting anyone who dares to get in their way. But after Vittorio has one bad night too many he decides it’s time for a change.

It is around this time that he meets Linda, who represents his shot at a clean life. In an attempt to get to his salvation he tries to distance himself from Cesare. The separation only lasts so long though, as their bond proves to be too strong. Vittorio does everything he can to keep Cesare from going off the rails completely, but when tragedy strikes, the repercussions threaten to rip him and their friendship apart.

The Italian film by director Claudio Caligari,Don’t be Bad is gripping and tragic. At its core, the film is a study about how great beauty and great horror can often be found in the same places. This point is highlighted all throughout the film by the stark contrast between the stunning cinematography, and the vividly disgusting personalities who struggle against their true nature frame after frame.

Furthermore, the score shares this element of duality, with some moments being tender and deeply touching, while other movements are cold, rigid, and electric. All of this sets the stage perfectly for the incredible acting ability of the leading men portraying Cesare and Vittorio. From the very start, you get wrapped up in their characters despite their flawed personalities, and you root for them all throughout the picture despite all they put themselves and their loved ones through. In just over an hour and a half, you’re given a saga that’s grimy and brutal, while sending you a message that is anything but.

Don’t Be Bad just had a limited theatrical run that begun April 7, 2017. You can catch the film on video on demand on May 23. Check out the trailer below.

The Italian film was the official submission by Italy for the 88th Academy Awards.