|Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: January 19, 2007||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
The Italian belongs in group of excellent recent Russian films -- most notably Andrei Zvyagintsev's "The Return" and Boris Khlebnikov and Aleksei Popogrebsky's "Roads to Koktebel" -- that have examined the effects of the country's woes on its youngest and most vulnerable citizens, as well as the problems faced by any child unfortunate enough to have faulty or absent parents. At its best, The Italian conveys this grave issue with admirable clarity and power. Read full review
The film flirts frequently with sentimentality, falling for it heedlessly at a couple of crucial junctures. Still, the overall style is more astringent than moist, and the hero is a little toughie of endearing tenderness.
Other than the unsatisfactory ending, however, there's much that is commendable in the The Italian, not the least of which are its social criticisms of the buying and selling of children through the adoption businesses currently thriving in Russia and neighboring eastern European countries. In some respects, unfortunately, not much has changed since the world was introduced to little Oliver Twist nearly two centuries ago. Read full review
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