285) I'm Not Scared (2003) Dir: Gabriele Salvatores Date Released: April 2004 Date Seen: September 7, 2009 Rating: 3/5
Initially, it's possible to defend director Gabriele Salvatores' decision to make I'm Not Scared an over-aestheticized bit of '70s nostalgia thanks to the way it treats the story as the product of a child's over-active imagination. Salvatores ostensibly airbrushes the rural world of young Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano) to death to match his theory that our bodies are the source of our memories (from 2000's Teeth). Being a child that fantasizes about toy trucks and re-imagines the events of his day in the pulpy language of contemporary comics when nobody's listening, Michele naturally sees the world with rose-colored glasses. His memories of the trees he climbs and the fields he darts through are not reproduced as they were but as someone might sensuously remember them if their skin had captured those fleeting images, which are later re-organized by an elder persona we never see.
That understanding is only worthwhile however if you are able to become ensconced in the film's pedestrian plot. I could not find a good foothold in the Michele's story, which revolves around the discovery of a boy in a pit that leads him to question his father's sudden return. It just didn't grab me, making Salvatores' zeal the meat-and-potatoes of the film. Naturally, I left with a pit in my stomach.