20 CIGARETTES (2010)


A recent Italian film about a 29 year old with a sense of entitlement who wants to be an actor (but doesn’t do anything about it) and gets hired as an assistant director (though he doesn’t seem to have any duties) on a film being shot in Iraq. Why anyone would hire him for the position is one of the many mysteries never answered in the film (including the meaning of the title), but he ends up one of the only survivors of a suicide attack. The actual attack is horrifying and effective. And the director, Aureliano Amadei, tries his best to keep up the energy; unfortunately, he only ends up making the movie chaotic with no focus. The central problem is the central character, played by Vinicio Marchioni, who is not remotely likeable, interesting or sympathetic (making him 29 was probably a mistake; what’s forgivable in a callow youth is annoying in a man child slacker). Two years after the main story ends, the character writes a book, revealing his true character: in spite of the fact that all these other people died or were injured, the whole thing is really about him.

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