The Predators (2020) Review
Following the lives of two separate friendship circles as their worlds intertwine in unusual circumstances, The Predators offers a fresh, unique viewing experience - and is now available to watch at the Cinema Made in Italy festival.
When keen philosopher Federico Pavone is fired from his research job by his tutor, he decides to source a bomb to seek revenge by blowing up a tribute to Friedrich Nietzsche - triggering an unpredictable chain of events that leads to family feuds and brutal bloodshed.
Written and directed by Castellitto, this stylish, creative film is a bit of a slow-burner, with a heavy focus on dialogue. Luckily, though, thanks to the Castellitto's sharp and witty script, The Predators never feels like a drag despite its relatively actionless premise, each line of dialogue managing to entertain with its intelligence and organic feel.
Each character - and there a lot, with what feels like 20 of them introduced within the first 20 minutes - feels important in their own way, adding a new dynamic into a constantly twisting storyline.
Castellitto somehow manages to carve out generous screentime for every actor, and each makes the most of their opportunity. There isn't a single weak performance in the film, with all of the cast undoubtedly bringing their A-game.
Giorgio Montanini deserves a special shout-out for his display as gun store owner Claudio, managing to add emotional depth to a character which could have otherwise felt like a run-of-the-mill low-life with no real sense of humanity.
Castellitto himself also deserves praise for his effective portrayal of the slightly unhinged Federico, thriving in a rather left-field role that consistently adds unnerving levels of volatility to the plot.
The Predators is an entertaining comedy-drama that feels fresh and delivered with conviction
As well as boasting an array of impressive performances, the stylish visuals are also excellently executed. Inventive camera techniques are pulled off more often than not, adding to the rather playful nature of the film's creative plot.
Cinematographer Carlo Rinaldi makes the most of the glorious Italian scenery and creates a colour palette that constantly establishes a satisfying setting for the events on-screen.
Where the film may put viewers off, though, is in its relatively convoluted storytelling. As previously mentioned, while each character is enjoyable in their own way, there are a lot of them to keep track of, and the decision to regularly dart back-and-forth between subplots may not suit everybody.
Despite this, The Predators is an entertaining comedy-drama that feels fresh and delivered with conviction. Writer-director Castellitto deserves great credit for creating a smart script and taking it to the screen in a slick, creative way, and each member of the cast does a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life. If you check out one film at this year's Cinema Made in Italy event, make it this one.