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THE KEYS TO THE HOUSE, 2004
Movie Reviews!

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THE KEYS TO THE HOUSE,  MOVIE POSTERTHE KEYS TO THE HOUSE, 2004
Movie Reviews

Directed by Gianni Amelio
Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Kim Rossi Stuart, Andrea Rossi, Alla Faerovich, Pierfrancesco Favino, Manuel Katzy, Michael Weiss,
Review by Russell Hill


SYNOPSIS:

A father who has never met his handicapped child before is asked to meet him for the first time.

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REVIEW:

To those who have continually read my reviews over the past few months, you will know that by now I enjoy a cheaply priced film when I see one. Bought when my local shop was selling non-English language films for no more than £1, this was bought only because I saw it was exactly this. After sitting throughout its hour and forty five minute duration, I found this film to be quite amazing on many levels.

Firstly, the story. The premise of the film is that Gianni (Stuart) left his wife in childbirth after she sadly died. Not bearing to see the child who was the main reason for causing the love of his life’s death, he left young Paolo (Rossi) at the hospital who was then raised by his aunt and uncle. Sixteen years on, Gianni is contacted by said aunt and uncle to transport him to the hospital for tests due to his disability. Scared out of his wits to say the least, he finds young Paolo troublesome and soon finds it difficult to look after this spirited young man. Will Gianni bail out on Paolo like he did all those years ago or will he act like a man and step up to the fatherhood plate?

As previous viewings have proved, not all foreign language films are classics. Then again, not all English language movies, such as “Step Brothers” which is known by yours truly as the worst film ever made, are top-notch. “The Keys to the House” is definitely not the latter, and is certainly no “Step Brothers”. The material might sound like your typical television film material, but here it is dealt with maturely and professionally as such topics of parental rediscovery are experienced throughout the world on a daily basis. The overriding factor in the case of this film is the young actor Andrea Rossi.

With what seems like having to deal with an actual disability not too dissimilar from the character of Paolo, his delivery of his lines are dealt with like an actor of far more advanced years than himself. You normally find that when younger and older actors are put against each other, the older actor wins in the stakes. But here, this is not the case as Rossi outperforms Stuart on many occasions. Now, I’m not mocking Stuart’s efforts here. His dedicated performance and in-depth spirit makes this reviewer picture a young Brando or even a mature Christopher McDonald. Together, they make up around two thirds of screen time and what a wonderful experience it is. Their relationship on screen brings to mind some of the classics of on-screen movie partnerships (Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in “Shawshank Redemption” being a prime example) and surely Rossi’s and Stuart’s must be added to this list.

The directing too must be applauded. It is often found that contemporary movies find in their duration too many cuts, panning shots and unnecessary close-ups which seem to harm the movie’s overall success. But here, the efforts of Gianni Amelio are really quite amazing. The main bulk of the film is mainly conversational as Paolo and Gianni bond during some intimate moments. Amelio never seems to intrude on this ever-growing relationship, and just simply allows the actors to pretty much get on with it. Directorial traits of someone who should have worked in a previous generation, it is not strange to read that his first movie was released in 1967. I believe these counterculture traits definitely continue to this day, as thirty seven years on he was still making movies which the 60’s were synonymous with.

If you prefer your movies a little on the violent side, forget watching this. If you like movies with a bit of CGI thrown in the mix, then ignore this movie’s very existence. But, if you prefer your films which include conversation in the main bulk of the movie than this surely is your type of film. A classic in its own right.

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