(director/writer: Peter Chelsom; screenwriters: Michele Pellegrini /Tinker Lindsay/Amena Grenci/novel by Stephen Amidon; cinematographer: Mauro Fiore; editor: Cristiano Travaglioli; music: Andrea Farri; cast: Marco D’Amore (Roberto Santini),Maya Sansa (Claudia Raffaelli Santini), Beatrice Grannò (Maria Spezzi), Silvio Muccino (Stefano Tommasi), Lavinia Cafaro (Ginevra), Tommaso Ragno (Walter Spezi), Valeria Bilello (Elena Ventini), Gaia Bavaro (Teen Daughter of Santini), Ludovica Martino (Angela Raffaelli Santini), Giulio Pranno (Dario), Fabrizio Bentivoglio (Curzio Pilati); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Marco Cohen, Fabrizio Donvito, Benedetto Habib: A Sky Cinema/Netflix release; 2021-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)
“Security made me feel insecure.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An Italian mystery that the British director-writer Peter Chelsom (“Hear My Song”/”Funny Bones”) bases on the 2009 novel by Stephen Amidon. Chelsom wrote it with fellow Brits Tinker Lindsay and Michele Pellegrini. The straightforward thriller had too few thrills, too many flawed characters and took too long to tell us what happened. Security made me feel insecure.
Forte dei Marmi is a small beach city in Tuscany, at the foot of the Apuan Alps, where the rich dwell in seasonal villas and are worried about house theft when away and for protection use surveillance for security.
Roberto Santini (Marco D’Amore) is a local who runs a video surveillance system through which he keeps a tab on the security of the villas, especially during the winter when his wealthy clientele vacation on Barbados. He’s an insomniac. On one winter night, an assaulted girl, Maria Spezi (Beatrice Grannò ), the daughter of his alcoholic ex-technician, Walter (Tommaso Ragno), is found on the footage and the father is charged with sex assault but is exonerated by Maria.
After that incident Santini examines some older footage, and he finds other incidents, like a teenager (Lavinia Cafaro) seen on the camera bloodied and beaten, and wonders why it was not reported. But the smug cops refuse any more investigations, and it seems up to the flawed Santini if things are reported. What he will do is questionable, since Santini’s ambitious wife, Claudia (Maya Sansa), is running for mayor. Her appeal is to the wealthy crowd to keep out the undesirables and her allies are from the wealthy crowd.
Another suspect seen by Santini when running through the old videos, was the caretaker Dario (Giulio Pranno). He used to work for a wealthy politician, Curzio Pilati (Fabrizio Bentivoglio). The footage retrieved from Pilati’s Villa revealed that on the night of the assault, Dario was with Maria, and they were both wasted. But along with Dario, there were two other men, faces not properly visible. Dario’s considered a principal suspect because on that night he destroyed evidence as he broke down a camera outside Pilati’s Villa.
The two men in the video were finally tracked down. One was an author, and the town’s English professor, Stefano Tommasi (Silvio Muccino), and the other was Pilati himself. Earlier, Pilati lied about his presence in the Villa.
The cops on orders from their bosses investigate no further, but Santini has stumbled on a mystery that he has evidence on that seemingly involves the rich playing by different rules than others and it leaves the Italian justice system under suspicion. Santini works for the rich and has his own interests, and there’s no legal pressure to force him to do the right thing. But in the end, we hope he will do right and bring forth the evidence he has for the sake of the community.
REVIEWED ON 6/30/2021 GRADE: C