Good Morning, Night

"Weak"

Good Morning, Night Review


Italian political history gets revisited in Good Morning, Night (aka Buongiorno, notte), the latest work from pedantic ideologue Marco Bellocchio. If you're already moving on to the next review at filmcritic.com ("God, not another history lesson! Let's see what they wrote about Mystic River or Kill Bill instead..."), I can't blame you. Bellocchio doesn't really make movies so much as build tracts, and his philosophy student background at the Catholic University of Milan is the driving force behind his films. They're philosophic inasmuch as they have characters sitting around discussing big ideas, which is the kiss of death for many films.

Inherently dramatic, Good Morning, Night has a strong premise addressing issues of responsibility and the dynamics of power. The Red Brigade terrorist group kidnaps Italian President Aldo Moro (Roberto Herlitzka) and holds him in their cell -- a small house in a suburban neighborhood. The youngest member of the group, and the only female, is Anna (Maya Sansa), who takes on the role of housewife for her three revolutionary companions and has a soul-stifling job at the local library. As days pass and the terrorists negotiate with the authorities, Anna questions her role in the political machinations. Though she never really grows more self-aware, she feels a sense of guilt over the possibility of killing Moro.

Sounds potentially fascinating, but Bellocchio doesn't tap into the humanity of his subjects. He's more interested in the ideas. As the terrorists interrogate their prisoner, it becomes more point-and-counterpoint than dramatic situation. Consequently, Good Morning, Night feels like a history lesson. The release is found not in the actors, but in the frequent cutaways to campy TV specials of the 1970s, forever playing in the background. Bellocchio never explores this banal counterpoint to the political turmoil, though one could argue it's a nice case of showing rather than telling. It's perhaps the movie's only example of showing rather than telling, telling, telling, telling...

Out of nowhere, one of Anna's co-workers tosses out the idea of writing a screenplay about the president's situation (and she wonders how much this young friend knows about her double life). This self-commentary on the art form never really builds in any satisfactory way, and feels instead flatfooted and indulgent. Maya Sansa's performance manages to convey enormous depth, particularly in her fleeting smiles of relief during a few key moments, but it's not enough to put a heart in this Tin Man movie. Odd, considering the story is about how much one is willing to risk everything in the name of a cause, which is about appealing to one's heart and mind. Good Morning, Night is well made, well thought-through, but appeals to neither one nor the other.

Reviewed as part of the 2003 New York Film Festival.



Good Morning, Night

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th September 2003

Distributed by: Wellspring Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.