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

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

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.