Venice 2013 – Competition
A middle-aged, unemployed man in Milan, struggles to get by in an unfeeling city while trying to retain his dignity and his passions. The jack-of-all-trades makes ends meet by taking over temporarily for absentees who need to slip out of the jobs for one reason or another...
Starring popular Italian actor Antonio Albanese (TO ROME WITH LOVE, DAYS AND CLOUDS, WHATSOEVERLY). A light-hearted take on the country’s current economic crisis from the acclaimed director of THE FIRST MAN, LAMERICA, STOLEN CHILDREN, OPEN DOORS and 1998 Golden Lion winner THE WAY WE LAUGHED (COSI RIDEVANO aka MON FRERE).
A rare excursion into quasi-comedy for a usually deadly serious director, whose interests have always gravitated to political topics… Amelio takes his best shot at popularizing his social concerns while showing how the country’s economic collapse affects the weakest links in society. Albanese’s ability to put a comic face on a dramatic situation should touch a nerve domestically… The litany would grow tiresome were Albanese not so appealing an actor, able to add a badly needed note of surrealism and invention to the endless situations he finds himself in. His humble attitude, his love for work and tenderness towards his son and a poor girl he meets, all flash on a latter-day Charlie Chaplin… The other character who works well in a non-stereotyped role is Antonio’s loving, caring son Ivo (notably played by newcomer Gabriele Rendina)… top cinematographer Luca Bigazzi captures some memorable images: Amelio’s trademark figures in a landscape; the wide open spaces of the impressive opening shot; an army of stadium cleaners moving in rows like in a science fiction film… Franco Piersanti’s wide-ranging score is a welcome addition, though the film’s narrative signature revolves around the plaintive notes of Nature Boy played soulfully on the sax.
— Deborah Young, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
The economic crisis is tackled head-on in Gianni Amelio’s “Intrepido: A Lonely Hero”… The idea of an outwardly content Everyman acting as a temporary worker in hundreds of different jobs is an appealing one… Antonio’s last name, Pane, means bread, an appropriate moniker for a guy supposed to be uncomplicated and neutrally pleasant to all. He appears to have few needs, enjoys working at whatever he’s given, and is proud of the son he loves deeply. Yet it’s not enough to keep his head above water. Unions aren’t much help, obliquely seen talking a good game but long reduced in power, and he refuses to be part of any underhanded transactions such as the corrupt schemes of his ex-wife’s companion… Amelio’s picture of Italy is an honestly damning one, a place where facades are more important than what lies beneath and labor is increasingly composed of foreign workers. Billboards touting optimistic prosperity offer further pointed barbs at a failing system… Albanese’s bland face, enlivened by his warm smile, is just the right canvas for this sort of figure who placidly goes through life in the Candide-like hope that if he’s nice to people, they’ll be nice back… The screen comes alive when Sandra Ceccarelli makes a brief appearance as Antonio’s ex-wife, Adriana; Ceccarelli provides a welcome lesson in imbuing even the tiniest roles with complexity… Top d.p. Luca Bigazzi’s lensing is elegant and assured…
— Jay Weissberg, VARIETY
This bleak portrait of Italy, as it looks these days, has very few smiles spread through it, and every single one of them is accompanied by deep sighs, a reminder that there are really no laughing matters in A Lonely Hero (L’intrepido)… Antonio is Gianni Amelio’s version of your average, nice, honest, pleasant Italian. Good at heart, kind to others, incurably optimistic…a man who can do most things but doesn’t particularly excel in any of them. What singles him out is his utter loneliness… There are references to unemployment and corruption on every level, unambitious complacency plaguing many of the older generation, confusion and uncertainty characterising the younger one and an unbridgeable generation gap between the two of them… Amelio’s static image of a stagnant Italy may be correct - as far as it goes - but its ending, which suggests things can go on forever this way, will no doubt raise quite a few protests… Luca Bigazzi’s camera wraps Milan in the same kind of melancholy mood that prevails all through the film while an inspired sax interpretation of Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy spreads just the right kind of bluesy atmosphere over the proceedings.
— Dan Fainaru, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL