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I soliti ignoti (1958)

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  • Written by lezard on 23.10.2023

    There's nothing worse than a horror movie that is not scary or a comedy which isn't funny. And it's really challenging to make people laugh.

    I soliti Ignoti is a funny, entertaining comedy, though, of course, such an assertion is difficult to prove.

    In this film, everything works smoothly and beautifully. The plot is quite thin : a bunch of crackpots plan to break into rich houses and steal everything. We think about "The Ladykillers » by Mackendrick. Classic indeed, but nevertheless, something is being born on the screen : the tone is right and the social background contributes to making the film much more than just another comedy. Of course the « Italian comedy » existed before but it gains here a new dimension, and both a lightness and a faint melancholy which turns laughter into something indispensable. An inconsolable cheerfulness.

    Successful scenes follow one another : at the pawn-shop (Woody Allen must have seen and remembered this one!), at the boxing match, in the ballroom, and the heist itself, which is an irresistible parody of "Du rififi chez les hommes" by Jules Dassin, a big hit of the 50's in Europe.

    The stupidity of the protagonists is the funny side of the story but the characters, though they are losers, aren't depicted in a scornful or condescending way, and it's not a proof of their inferiority (contrary to the characters of the ferocious and hilarious « Fargo » by The Coen brothers, for instance) but, on the contrary, of their humanity.
    Moreover, because they are so genuinely Italian, they become instantly universal, adding their names to a long list of famous, magnificent and sympathetic idiots, ftom the six partners of « A Midsummer Night's Dream » to Didi and Gogo by Beckett, Laurel and Hardy, and the two dimwits of « Kakushi-toride no san-akunin/Hidden Fortress » by Kurosawa.
    A movie to watch and rewatch just for fun and also to be lucid.

I soliti ignoti Reviews