A piece of wood so puerile and disgusting even Norm Abram couldn't restore it.
In the enormous guidebook for a successful career in the cinema, there is a rule that states a director only gets to make one completely misguided, awful film atrocity before his or her auteur status is revoked. The exemption of course is Stephen Spielberg, and even his Always / 1941 / Hook pedigree threatens to undermine one of the most artistically sound résumés in the history of film. But outside of ET's re-inventor, other filmmakers have not been so lucky. George Lucas took his tumble in the exact spot where he should have soared his highest. The one-two sucker punch (emphasis on the word sucker) of Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones managed a feat all too rare in rabid fan boy geekdom: it made people hate their "once universally loved" lightsaber legacy. F.F. Coppola let Rumblefish and The Outsiders lead him right down the path to Godfather III and Jack. And even newcomers like Frank Darabont have a Majestic misstep in their otherwise Shawshank redemptive oeuvre, a film destined to crash land their creative control back down to Earth. And then there is the case of one Roberto Benigni, Italy's ersatz Chaplin, the grand master of the farcical physical comedy. One could argue that his body of minor works is so suspect that to include him in this list of luminaries is foolish, but thanks to his light if ludicrous comedies, he has something of a critical cult following, and with his humorous Holocaust travesty Life is Beautiful, he cemented a seat at the populist table, many folks mooning over its supposed magical reaffirmation of love triumphing over ultimate evil. But others uncovered the con, seeing it as a slap in the face of every concentration camp survivor who didn't have a dimwitted daddy trying to turn Dacchau into Disneyland for them. If there was ever a doubt that Benigni walks in the soiled shoes of his equally displaced director kin, we now get Pinocchio, an uniformly unpleasant fable from Carlo Collidi's much loved book. One viewing and it's painfully obvious: For Roberto, it's time to get those "cancelled" stamps ready for his DGA card.
Facts of the Case
A psychotic log comes flying off a cart, and as if by magic, it threatens the life and limb of several minding-their-mascarpone townspeople. It finally flops at the doorstep of Gepetto, a sadly demented old coot who talks to his woodworking. When he sees the tumbled timber, he falls into a strange kind of love with it. A few auger gashes later and Pinocchio is born. Resembling a 50-year-old waiter from the Macaroni Grill, our little…sorry, rather long and lanky wooden boy…again, apologies, man (from now on referred to as Lanky Wooden Man, or "LWM") begins bouncing off the walls like his bark is infused with ADHD. LWM does such clever things as getting the wig-wearing Gepetto arrested and setting himself on fire. [Editor's Note: One wonders if this was a form of protest against the film.] His attitude can best be described as oppressive and his mannerisms are like a monkey infected with a user-friendlier version of Ebola. Naturally, everyone thinks this knotty nut is adorable, since LWM is a puppet, even though he looks and acts like an underfed derelict in undersized feetie pajamas.
While on his way to school one day, school one day, school one day, while on his way to school one day LWM stops off to see his fellow stringed creatures doing their marionette minstrel show for a mostly bored public. They immediately embrace the spastic splinter fest and invite him onstage for a flail. This angers the Giant Fire Eater (who, sadly, we never get to see eat a single flame) and he threatens to turn LWM into pulp pudding. However, the oversized softie has a weakness for sob stories and the lumber lout feeds him a whopper. In return, LWM is given five gold pieces by the behemoth if he promises never to return. LWM agrees. As he is returning home, he is met by a couple of mangy miscreants, otherwise known as Mr. Fox and Mr. Cat. They attempt to swindle the stipend out of LWM (how hard can it be—he's a brainless hunk of pine) and when ineffective, they end up hanging him. The Blue Fairy comes along and saves LWM, teaching him that if he lies, his nose turns into an oversized novelty toothpick. Armed with this new special knowledge, our manchild again heads for home. On his way, he again meets the anti-social animals. They finally figure a way to cop his coins and they leave LWM to get arrested for digging a hole in the ground. LWM is sentenced to five years in prison (rather harsh, must be some manner of law regarding zero tolerance of timber).
While in the hoosegow, LWM meets a noble soul, the lollipop thieving Lucignolo. They share a tangerine tongue taste together (which oddly enough is how most prison romances begin). After a discussion on the joys of juvenile delinquency, lucky Luci is freed. Four months later, LWM is given a pardon when the King impregnates his wife (and you thought Texas' legal system was weird). He returns to the Blue Fairy, only to learn that she died of over how big a disappointment Pinocchio had become (she must have had the heart of a hummingbird). While weeping like a woman, LWM is told by a dove that Gepetto is looking for him. The puppet pumps his pistons all the way to the sea only to witness his keen papa taking a permanent surf bath. The puzzled plank jumps in to try and save him. He ends up on the shores of a strange island. When he goes into town to irritate this new group of grown-ups, he runs into the fairy that finally promises to make him a real boy. LWM is so excited by this fact that he goes out and gets pinched for attempted murder. He escapes and gets his log leg caught in a bear trap. A farmer takes the hardwood home and forces him to be a guard dog. Conveniently enough, Lucignolo shows up and saves him.
Well, that dopey dupe the fairy agrees to forgive the paneled putz and make good on her promise to refinish his veneer. LWM celebrates this development by heading off to Playland with Lucignolo so that he can become a twenty-four hour party peon. After a night of sugar coated debauchery, all the boys (and fey puppetheads) on the island turn into asses. And then they become donkeys. Pinocchio becomes the featured farce in a local circus, jumping through hoops of fire and whizzing on the audience. When he pulls up lame, he is tossed in the sea. He is eaten by a computer generated shark, imitates a tuna, finds Gepetto in the belly of the beast, rescues the old man and they return home (finally!). LWM starts to work as a well wheel turner on a dairy co-op to supply the sickly coot with a cup of milk a day. Eventually he works hard enough to earn two cups! Overhearing the owner talk about a banged-up burro, LWM goes away in a manger and discovers the animalized Lucignolo braying on death's door. They share one final lolly before the grim reaper makes donkey salsa out of Pinocch's bad boy. LMW returns home, is sleepy and wakes up a real live boy.
Oh yeah, and from time to time, a stupid little cricket hops into a scene to say something silly and/or sanctimonious.
One hates to be brash about it, but just what in the hell happened to Roberto Benigni? For most Americans, their first chance to witness this one time witty whirlwind work his ferociously funny magic was in either Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law or Night on Earth (where his non-stop verbal barrage confession to a dead priest was priceless). He crafted a few foreign film feasts that Western audiences responded to with favor and fiscal approval (The Monster and Johnny Stecchino). But after a three-year hiatus, he went and did something absolutely deadly to his livelihood. He returned to the big screen with an awful piece of offal that stained the memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. This concentration camp as comedy club kiddie circus was called Life is Beautiful and as a "love it or hate it" historical hemorrhoid it should have been the final word from this overly earnest buffoon. Unfortunately, critics and money paying people had to go and sanction his misguided vision by making it a box office hit and awarding the dork two undeserved Oscars. And as the proverbial saying goes, a monster/demon/Pandora's box was born/unleashed/opened. Five years, $45 million dollars (that's more umpteen billion lire than Italia has a right to spend on anything, including gelato or Prada) and an unhealthy dose of national pride later, Benigni unveiled his latest cinematic cesspool on an unsuspecting world, the kind of overreaching retch inducing drivel that only a semi-competent filmmaker with carte blanche, unlimited artistic license and bocce balls the size of the Coliseum could conceive. No, it was not another lighthearted trip back through forced relocation, interment, and extermination. It was a classic fairy tale about a little wooden puppet that longed to be a real boy.
Never mind that, just a year before, Stephen Spielberg (with a little spiritual guidance from Stanley Kubrick) reworked the story of Pinocchio and his desire to be real into a parable about childrearing, playing God, and the responsibility and burden of love in the future shock masterpiece A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. And who cares that Disney's 1941 cartoon classic, while not 100% on point with everything Collodi, is considered by most to be the House of Mouse's most gripping and gorgeous production. The Fisher King mixed knightly legends with strong rebirth imagery (even utilizing a traditional wooden Pinocchio puppet) to tell its tale of honor and redemption. And let's not forget all the other various and sundry permutations of the beloved pastoral puppet head, They run the rodeo from straight Jim Henson retellings and standard animated manipulations to the oddly murderous marionette from something called Pinocchio's Revenge. So even with a bionic ear probing the farthest reaches of the pop culture galaxy, it's hard to imagine that a single sound in favor of another trip down Growing Nose Boulevard was warranted or needed. But not according to the Italian scallion. Apparently, most Mediterraneans think Uncle Walt welched on his warrants when he turned their country's folklore into a slick, saccharine exercise in show tunes. They wanted to see the real Pinocchio. They wanted to feel Collodi's words come alive and longed to see someone interpret his political and social satire skills in the ways only a native Neapolitan or son of Sicily could. And the boot nation took one look at the man who made the systematic slaughter of millions of undesirables look like a very special episode of The Little Rascals and said "Si!"
Indeed, it is Benigni's intent with his new Pinocchio to do for the classic piece of Italian children's literature what Peter Jackson did for Tolkien's Ring trilogy, or the KBG did with most of Russian history. It wants you to forget Disney's little animated massacre of their much-loved marionette and mandates you embrace its new reconfigured and retooled fool. On the surface, Benigni has succeeded in spades for what he set out to do. He has created a lavishly stunning, sweeping story of the little wooden doll's many adventures on the road to boyhood and has kept integral as many of Collodi's original ideas as possible. And that means a decided readjustment for those who are novice to the native Pinocchio. This version of the firewood friend is not a newborn naïve simpleton open to the world experience. Instead, he is a brash and bratty blowhard, speaking first and learning the consequences later. It means that the threats, the evil possibilities and dark penalties that the original puppet had to face (catching on fire, hanging, drowning) remain intact, keeping all the grim in the non-brothers fairy tale. It's even episodic, like the original purpose of the author's efforts (before it became a book, it was serialized for months). But what most Pinocchio purists will applaud, aside from the literal translation and attention to detail, is the overall look of the production. Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio is a drop dead gorgeous work of dazzling art and set design that, unfortunately, acts like the proverbial sparkles on a dog flop. Indeed, this is one retelling of the classic children's story that feels inert, unappetizing, and downright revolting. No matter how much good the tiny auteur thought he was doing for Collodi's creation, the long dead scribe should be halfway to Peking by now with the number of grave spins he's accomplished since the film's release.
The saddest part about the putrid Pinocchio is that in its original Italian language version, the movie is an incredible artistic masterpiece of cinema, pure and simple. Benigni creates images, compositions, and set piece moments that surpass anything he's filmed before or is likely to capture in the future. More than once you will literally have your breath taken away by what you see. Like those unbelievably beautiful Pageant of the Arts re-creations where actual human beings are used in combination with makeup, sets, and effects to remake the great masterworks live on stage, Pinocchio uses movie making of the highest order to bring the make believe world of the little wooden puppet to life on the silver screen. With the creativity and skill of Cinecitta Studios to the brilliant camera and lighting work of Dante Spinotti (L.A. Confidential, The Last of the Mohicans) and the genius production design of Danilo Donati (a Fellini favorite), Benigni has done the next to impossible and created, as a filmmaker, a kind of living lithograph, both a tribute to and a technological time capsule with the look, the feel and the style of old artisan illustrators. Sequences where Pinocchio crosses the countryside to find Gepetto, wanders a wooden glen, or climbs a rock along a stormy beachhead to signal the old woodcarver are unbelievable. Even better are moments of quiet quaintness: the look of a village, the delicacy of a butterfly, and the regality of rain. From the mind-boggling lushness of the green grass to the colorful chaos of Playland, Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio is hands down one of the best looking imaginative statements as a movie ever made. Too bad then that all this luxurious trapping is for a total travesty.
For you see, in no uncertain terms, Pinocchio the film is awful. Incredibly bad. Disconcertingly terrible. The juxtaposition of unbridled beauty with offensive onscreen antics makes this film a rotten rollercoaster ride into repugnant ridiculousness. Frankly, there is only one reason why the movie does not work, cannot work, and will not work to save its sawdust. And it's a one-word answer as well: casting. Benigni, not content to make a movie that surpasses many of the most artistic visions of his far more celebrated colleagues, expands his hyperactive hubris and hires himself and his wife to star in the movie. Never before in the history of the word "miscasting" has a case of nonsensical narcissism and nepotism totally doomed a film. Now, some can argue that even though she looks like she's moments away from an untimely death, the wrinkles, waddles, and bags under her eyes do not diminish (greatly) Nicolleta Braschi's ethereal qualities. But the fact of the matter is that she's too damned old to be the Blue Fairy. Granted, there is no age specification to play an enchanted entity, but she seems so tired, so dragged out and disheveled that she's more like a fairy grandmother than godmother. And since her doting husband loves to hold his camera on her haggard face for long, loving close-ups, we get plenty of time to make our own inner plastic surgery suggestions (a little eye work, chin tuck, etcetera). She's not as decrepit as Carlo Giuffre, who plays Gepetto like he has both feet and a buttcheek already in the grave, nor is her look as hopelessly hackneyed as the hirsute mutton chopped chumps Fox and Cat. But if this were the magical entity the robotic David ended up finding at the bottom of the ocean, he'd have every right to return to Dr. Know and ask for his credits back.
The bigger problem with the film, in a nutshell and case, is the aged, balding Benigni. Instead of addressing the fact that the agitated hambone only has one acting style (let's just call it "energetic") and he's about as childlike as a colonoscopy, the dumbass does what his ego dictates and before you know it, the whisper thin five o'clock shadowed adult stick figure with a body that would make pre-pubescent gymnasts jealous is playing a puppet. The minute Gepetto puts the finishing gouges on this man-sized marionette (even if his look is more Collodi correct) and Roberto's bratty blathering starts to stream of conscious, we understand just why this movie is going to implode like a star on supernova. It's not that he's bad as the lying, inconsiderate selfish puppet, it's just that he looks like a badly dressed kid's party clown from Cirque du Soleil. The movie's rationale for how a matured adult male can play the enigmatic wooden being is simple: like the Emperor's New Clothes or Bush's Foreign Policy, the film figures that the more people on screen who simply agree that he's a load of lumber, the sooner the audience will accept it. So everyone constantly refers to Roberto as a puppet. They recognize that he is one automatically, even though there is no attempt to make him even remotely puppetlike: no makeup wooden joints, no stiff body movements, nothing but a strange white pancake powder effect on Roberto's face that makes him resemble an emaciated Bob Dylan on the Hard Rain tour. With his non-stop chattering and deranged dolt in a duncecap appearance, Benigni single-handedly destroys Pinocchio. He is so enraptured in what he is doing for his native mythology that he's too blind or busy to see how incredibly irritating and irrational his performance appearance is. And it is fatal.
There are other things about Pinocchio that don't quite work, that seem out of place and insular for something supposedly so universal. The exact nature of the Blue Fairy is never explained. She is capable of turning day into night, but seems genuinely hurt when things she could obviously control (Pinocchio's donkey fate) cause her concern. Pinocchio's wild mood swings and erratic decisions also grow tiresome after about ten minutes. Collodi obviously meant this as an allegory about learning to grow up responsible and trustworthy; that message is only beaten about your head and shoulders a hundred times, but we never get the feeling that Pinocchio actually grasps this idea. He's more like Pavlov's dog: Gepetto's desire for a cup of milk a night has basically force labored the notions of caring and concern into the woodenhead's higher memory functions. It's not just the mixed tone of tirades, mock terror, and tinsel that kill this film. We also have unnecessary moments that seem inserted only to up the manipulative melodrama factor. When Pinocchio sees the fairy's grave and understands that it is he who killed her, the copious tears the trite timbertoes explodes into seem more than over the top. And the last-minute donkey deathbed scene is a complete piece of calculated cry creator. There is no need for the asino to show up here, as by this time we assumed a similar fate for the jackass. From the complete waste of the Cricket character (who we don't expect to be Jiminy, but we also don't expect to be so stiff and dull) to the anti-climatic fish rescue, Pinocchio has the distinction of being the first lavish production that feels like it took ten years to create and ten minutes to script.
Truth is, this presentation is very reminiscent of the Faerie Tale Theater version of the story, produced by Shelly Duvall back about two decades ago and starring Paul Reubens as Pinocchio. That particular episode received some of the same criticism for casting the adult (and decidedly Pee-Wee) Paul as the wooden puppet, since most people just couldn't get over the man as marionette. But this begs the question, could some manner of special effects have be used to make Pinocchio palatable? One has to wonder if Benigni pulled a Peter Jackson and did some forced perspective work to make his oversized manchild more manageable, would it have worked? A smaller, more doll-sized Benigni is a viable possibility since it works all right in the fire eater/giant scenes. Still, we would have Roberto's retarded railroad sleeper to contend with overall. Perhaps a completely CGI character, a complex computer animation creation with an impressive design and Benigni's voice would return the magic that the miscast middle aged actor rends from the film. But then we'd have that heinous organ grinder meets vicious stereotype voice Roberto is hindered with. Possibly the best suggestion would be to throw out all high tech artifice and turn Pinocchio into a traditional silent movie. Take the marvelously tragic score by Nicola Piovani and remove all the dialogue. Then give the Western audience English subtitles and the Italians their own romance language. The beauty of the visuals and the complexity created in the individual's imagination could compensate the viewer with a movie they won't soon forget. And yet, there he would be, the only puppet client of the Hairclub for Men with prostate issues. It's only fitting that the failure of Pinocchio falls on the sloping shoulders of its megalomaniacal mentor: it proves that, given enough film, a faux genius will hang himself every time.
But just in case you thought this movie couldn't get any shoddier, that the acting couldn't be any more cloying or the voices any more vile, Miramax commissioned an English language dub that gives new meaning to the word shitty. It is so atrocious, so appallingly awkward and awful that several members of the UN have moved to ban Pinocchio on the basis that exposure to its talentlessness constitutes the employment of weapons of mass destruction on innocent humans. How anyone could have thought that this was a good idea is mind-boggling. It's bad enough when Benigni blathers on like a malodorous reject, but then to choose a more teenage, high pitched sexless whine for the wooden head turns tolerance into torture. Indeed, Breckin Meyer should just give up now and take his punishment like a man, except that with the voice he gives Pinocchio, it's hard to imagine there's anything remotely male about him. Glenn Close is supposedly the voice of the Blue Fairy, but she seems to have wisely hidden her distinctive air in a breathy, faux British bleat. Eddie Griffin and Cheech Marin are wasted as the Cat and Fox, respectively, and John Cleese's Cricket is about as entertaining as an actual infestation. And not only does Miramax remove the original Italian language, it cuts several scenes from the film to make it more…actually, it's not quite clear why they do it. The Italian version is 100 minutes. The English is 95. So somehow, the message is that Americans require five less minutes of entertainment, or perhaps that once a movie moves beyond the magic nine-O, English-speaking audiences break out in tired ass tantrums. Either way, the edits feel completely arbitrary and actually manage to undermine the movie further.
You get to sample both editions of this evil entity on the special two-disc DVD package of Pinocchio. The Italian version comes complete with a series of trailers, that's it. And one is for something called Miramax's New Golden Age, which begs two questions: when was their last golden age, and can the browbeating of Academy voters into picking your heavily hyped product number one really be considered a golden age? Anyway, the same group of misleading movie ads can be found attached to the terrible American abomination disc, along with a couple of futile featurettes that add nothing to the movie viewing experience and everything to the bottom line of corporations F.A.O. Schwartz and Casa Weinstein. As a matter of fact, looking over the creation of the movie marketing windows for the New York toy store or the recording of voices for the enraging English edition of the film, one can't help but smell the failure and fumbling of the wide Weins as their company tries to turn a turd into a turtledove. But it can't work. They were stuck with a cinematic stool sample and are forced to live in its pong as pitiful distributor. Those of you who need to own Pinocchio as part of your love affair with that pasta-puking pipsqueak Roberto B. would be best served to simply take the US DVD out of the case and bury it in the ground along with a handful of salt and some Santa Ria itching powder. That may ward off the malocchio. Otherwise, there is no sound reason to sit through its atonal voice work, stiflingly dreadful promo pieces or various vision issues.
Indeed, the worst part about the US version of Pinocchio is the color correction and disc mastering (the Dolby Digital sound is fine: immersive and atmospheric). It's a shame that this reviewer does not have the capacity to provide screen shots for his reviews, since this is one of the few instances where their inclusion is 100% warranted. In the Italian release, the moody and elegant scope of the color palette is preserved magnificently, turning each new sequence into a feast for the eyes (if not the mind or eardrums). The hues are reminiscent of Renaissance paintings: golden and earthy with the occasional explosion of primary pizzazz. But somehow, the American version has been whitewashed. The brightness seems overdone, as to remove the somber and subtle tone Benigni worked so hard to create. The contrast also seems overly harsh, meaning that instances are ruined when softness was employed to emphasize the fantastic elements of the story. But probably the worst offense that all this image fiddling commits is the turning of a light and beautiful fairy tale into a revolting vision of realism. It make Benigni's Homer Simpson five o'clock shadow that much more prominent. It emphasized Braschi's age issues. Cities now become sets and characters become costumes. While it's possible (but not very likely) that the editing of certain scenes can be forgiven, this de-saturation of the Benigni's artistic vision, no matter how odious the film as a whole is, is unpardonable. Pinocchio in its native tongue is a visual feast suffering from frequent fatal farcical flaws. But in English, it's just offensive.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
It's really hard to hate Pinocchio. It is not the worst movie ever made. It can barely even approach the levels of incompetence and incongruity found in the fiascos of Battlefield Earth, At Long Last Love, or The Adventures of Pluto Nash. For a retelling of Carlo Collodi's classic tale, it's as straightforward and respectful as they come. In fact, in the long lineage of Benigni's potential bungles, this evocative and beautiful love letter to his native land's rich literary history will probably be seen as lightyears ahead of the more malignant Life is Beautiful. Indeed, that humorous Holocaust calamity should merely be forgotten, a failed experiment in the otherwise sound sequence of Benigni's career. When Jerry Lewis, an actual Jew, conceived and created a Final Solution saga about a children's entertainer for the victims of Auschwitz, his The Day the Clown Cried went down (and underground) as cinema's most ill-advised mixture of funny man with horrible human wickedness. Certain subjects just don't lend themselves to lighthearted hilarity. Those who've seen the long suppressed mess call it reprehensible and disrespectful—many of the same admonitions that Life is Beautiful gets. Time will reveal that the reason Roberto's repulsive re-imaging of Hitler's genocide was so popular was that people in general, when faced with a sorrow of the magnitude of what happened to the European Jew during WWII, can't handle the cold hard truth and want their mass murder on the slightly less messy side. Well, they can thank Benigni for turning the forced labor camp experience, with its death and pestilence, into a craven comedy club, the better to besmirch the memory of those who perished in their torturous confines. A film like Pinocchio only offends the artistic senses; Life is Beautiful aims to destroy recorded history itself.
Where does Benigni go from here? What's his next miscalculated step along the path to universal revilement and hatred? Obviously, the public adoration and apologizing feeds his fetid ego to the point where he thinks he can do just about anything and get away with it. Does he next fashion a slapstick epic about the Life of Christ? Maybe he makes a musical based on Mussolini's political philosophies? There are always the forbidden facets of child pornography, bestiality, and necrophilia to explore. Or perhaps he can continue to ransack his native tongue and turn another well-loved Italian fable or legend into a complete hideous motion picture experience. But why stop at his mother/fatherland? Why not dive into other ethnic cultures and insult the sweetness out of their beloved fairy tales. It is not hard to imagine him making a minstrel show version of The John Henry Story or out-disgracing Disney with his own Song of the South slander revolving around Uncle Remus. Or maybe he could re-start the Axis and bastardize the Brothers Grimm until all that's left is a bunch of sauerkraut and schnitzel jokes. Societies worldwide should be in the process right now of protecting their tall tale treasures from lapsing over into the public domain, less this Tuscan terror taint them forever. Or maybe we'll get lucky and he'll decide to go all-original on us again, crafting a superb starring role for himself as Guido, the goofy organ grinder in a completely offensive stereotype testament called The Pizza Eating Monkey and the Mafia. Perhaps that will get all his pigeonholing and slurring done in one fell swoop. Innocence and childlike whimsy can excuse a great many things. But if Pinocchio is any indication of where Roberto's overactive ego goes next, the sky's the limit. And that means only one thing: God, the romantic comedy action adventure can't be far behind.
Pinocchio is hereby spilt and tried separately. The Italian version is sentenced to 100 years of Fleet Enemas in the Fairytale section of the Misguided Media Maximum Security Prison. The English dubbed version is hereby sentenced to death by dismemberment, poisoning, vivisection, and extreme violence. The remains are then to be burned and fed to the people who conceived of its horrendous voice-over work. Then those people are to be killed and force-fed to Roberto Benigni until his slight frame explodes. Court adjourned.
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