Predators (I Predatori)
Class shapes us as people, influencing how we speak, behave and understand the world around us. Actor and director Pietro Castellitto uses two Italian families on opposite ends of the social ladder to expose how truly absurd this conditioning can get.
The Vismaras are working-class; the head of the household, Claudio (Giorgio Montanini) is an imposing, vulgar brute with a bad temper who helps his uncle deal in illegal guns. His home and his body are littered with fascist symbols and he carries himself with contempt for the world. The Pavones come from old money. They enjoy the finer things in life but detest one another, constantly butting heads in their giant apartments and exquisite Roman restaurants. The oldest Pavone son, Federico (Pietro Castellitto) is a frustrated pseudo-academic who is used to having things come easy to him and doesn’t know what to do when they don’t. Both families are connected by a traffic accident that leads to the unravelling of Claudio.
There are some truly inspired comic moments that lift The Predators above pedestrian social commentary. The magnificent ensemble is constantly jousting and sparring in some delightful set pieces that Castellitto paces masterfully. Unfortunately, too much of the humour normalises the fascist characters; it’s almost as if we’re expected to look past the hate-filled symbols and associations and sympathise with them, find them lovable, even. This confusing relatability culminates in a final set-piece in which Claudio stands up to his tyrannical uncle by setting a trap for him in a desolate scrapyard. The resultant showdown is played for laughs but leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
This enormous misstep in which our sexist, fascist protagonist seemingly redeems himself – reminiscent of Sam Rockwell’s character arc in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – completely mires the rest of the narrative retro-actively. The Predators wastes a magnificent ensemble cast with some banal twists and largely superficial social commentary.
Predators (I Predatori) does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch some clips from Predators (I Predatori) here: