Bicycle Thieves ★★★★½

There's no movie I've seen ever that is as honest in its emotions as Bicycle Thieves. Its visual storytelling is ahead of its time. It may seem a bit cliché, but this movie is the finest example of "says so much by saying so little". Carlo Montuori's cinematography couldn't have been more expressive, and Lamberto Maggiorani couldn't have embodied his character better. Not to mention the sweet relationship between Antonio Ricci and his son, Bruno, that brought us some of the most heartbreaking and poignant moments in film, while granting other humorous moments that will put smile on your face involuntarily. Thanks in large part to Enzo Staiola's likable performance. A performance that reminded me of Giorgio Cantarini's performance in La Vita è Bella, another Italian film that is influenced by Bicycle Thieves in terms of the father/son relationship.

Truth be told, Vittorio De Sica's intimate direction is what took this movie to a higher level. A direction that took advantage of the simplicity of the story in the best possible way. You can't help putting yourself in the protagonist's shoes, and rooting for him, and his cute son, like you haven't done before. It's a direction that made the naivety of the situations you see the characters get through seem so genuine and authentic that you feel you've been a member of this poor and simple society all through your life.

Cesare Zavattini's Oscar nominated screenplay should be praised for balancing between the progress of the main plot adding many layers to it, and making it feel more complicated, while fleshing out the characters with no much dialogue. That being said, it's the movie's script that is flawed. there is timing inaccuracy, and plot holes that can be a tad bit infuriating.

The music by Alessandro Cicognini played a key role in keeping the tragic tone underneath most of the movie to use it later while reflecting the protagonist's misery.

Overall, Ladri Di Biciclette is an honest, simple, and unpretentious portrait of the struggle for life and self-esteem that deserves every bit of recognition it gets. An Italian classic through and through! Also, it has one of the absolute best endings ever!

(9/10)

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