Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#93 Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief) (1948), 93 mins.

Beth: Wow. What a weird movie. I have NO idea why this movie is in the top 250. Alf and I searched all over and all we found was people referring to this movie being in the top 100 movies of all time. It was like, just because it was in the top 100 movies, that automatically made it a good movie. Almost a chicken or egg thing. I mean, how did it get in the top 100 if people didn't write a good review and yet no one can reference or even write a good review. So, here's my review.

It's about this guy who is looking for work after WWII in Italy. He's been without work for a while and he finally wins the job lottery and he gets a job. But he needs a bicycle. He had a bicycle a year ago when he registered with the unemployment office but he had to pawn it. How ironic that to make money, he needs something he sold to make money. So, naturally, his wife has to come to the rescue. She pawns the sheets so he can buy back the bicycle. Life is great. He goes to his first day of work and what happens? Some fool steals his bicycle. Random side note: it looks like someone tries to stop our guy from chasing after the bike thief. Why would someone do that? Also, apparently this guy started work on Saturday because the day after his bike is stolen, he has the day off to look for his bike and it's Sunday. Random.

The rest of the movie, this guy and his kid, Bruno, look for the bike. Bruno really makes the movie worth something. He looks like he's 8 but he's got more sense than his old man. They go to the flea market to look for the bike. They see the thief but can't catch him and follow another lead. They give up and the dad decides to treat Bruno to some pizza. By a stroke of luck, they see the thief again (this is Rome, right? I mean, what are the odds of seeing this kid so many times?). They finally catch the thief but the bike is long gone and they have no proof. They have no choice but to give up. How can life be so cruel? So unfair? It's just a bicycle that separates a family from poverty and riches. In a moment of desperation, the guy makes his own attempt to steal a bicycle and gets caught. The owner does not press charges but Bruno is scarred for life.

As I finished this last paragraph, I realized that I wrote the same thing every other review has written. No review at all. Just a retelling of the story. And I thought I was done. Funny. Anyway, this movie is pretty bare bones. Looking at IMDB, they used an amateur cast and "neo-realism" which is a fancy term that means that they shot the film as-is. No sets were created. They just used what they had around. So it forces you to focus on the movie and the emotions that are playing on the characters. I spent so much of the movie making fun of it but in retrospect, I think it might have been a good movie. The desperation of the characters was obvious. I didn't need fancy music choreography to understand the magnitude of the situation. Of course, I also wasn't moved to tears. I think this one you might have to watch yourself.

Alf: I'll keep this review short. The movie is about a guy in post-war Italy who is looking for a job. He finally lands one, but the problem is that it requires transportation (a bicycle), and he just pawned his. He ends up lying and saying that he still has his, so he takes the job. During one of his jobs, the bike gets stolen, and the rest of the movie is about trying to find his bike and the guy that stole it. I believe they did something "cute" with the title, since it's called the "bicycle thief." The majority of the movie IS about him trying to find his thief, but at one point he becomes so desperate that he tries to steal one himself.

Anyway, I can say that I saw the movie now...but I think I'm missing the "greatness" of it. The movie does kind of end all of a sudden with no real end, so one of the things that I can think of is that maybe for the time that it was released, most movies had happy endings and everything was cookies and rainbows, but this one was not like that. Now, of course, we do have movies like that every day, so it's not "new," but it might have been at the time. But! Since this is my first time seeing it, it was new to me, but slightly boring. Maybe next time...