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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Made in Italy (M) - 93 minutes

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Glorious looking, Made in Italy suffers from a wafer thin, transparent and highly predictable plot. It features Liam Neeson and his real life son, Micheál Richardson.

In short, you know where it will end up within minutes of it starting. Indeed, the title alone is a dead set giveaway.

Jack (Richardson – Anchorman 2) is the manager of his estranged wife Ruth’s (Yolanda Kettle) family’s art gallery – a job he loves.

But things are about to change when at a gallery opening event, his wife turns up unannounced, only to inform him the gallery is to be sold.

He pleads with her not to allow that to happen, then offers to buy it from the family with money he doesn’t have.

He is given a month to stump up the funds, which entails him prevailing upon his estranged father Robert Foster (Neeson – Taken) for a quick sale of the now derelict Tuscan villa where he grew up, of which he owns a half share.

So, the pair goes on a road trip together to visit the place, which Jack last saw 20 years ago when he was aged but seven.

What confronts them is nothing short of disastrous, but Jack is determined to find a way through the mess, which amounts to disrepair.

A major incident broke the bond between father – a noted painter at the time – and son all those years ago.

Just what happened and why is dealt with as the narrative unfolds and forms the nub of the drama.

Also, early in the piece upon his return to Tuscany, Jack meets the attractive proprietor of a local restaurant, Raffaella (Helena Antonio), who has her own “baggage”.

Need I say more about where that thread is heading?

Made in Italy is a film done by the numbers.

Reconciliation of father and son, and finding a new way forward is never in doubt.

It is merely a question of what glitches or roadblocks can be thrown up to string out the inevitable.

Mind you, it is not too offensive to watch in the most beautiful of surrounds.

There are also a number of cute one-liners, well delivered, that make it more palatable.

And the film capitalises upon some decent looking performers to make the journey somewhat easier, although I can’t say any of them are really stretched.

Made in Italy reminded me of the 2003 Diane Lane vehicle Under the Tuscan Sun, which I preferred.

Actor James D’Arcy (Dunkirk), who makes his feature film writing and directorial debut, has taken the easy way out for his first major project.

Regardless, like Tuscan Sun, this too will find an audience that will be prepared to overlook its shortcomings to arrive at the Hollywood ending.

Rated M, it scores a 6 out of 10.


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