CinemaClown’s review published on Letterboxd:
Featuring amateur actors in starring roles, shot in real locations with no studio sets & using only natural light to capture its drama, Bicycle Thieves (also known as Ladri di Biciclette) is one of the finest & most influential films to come out from Italian Cinema and is amongst the first films that brought neorealism into the world of motion picture filmmaking.
Set in poverty-stricken Rome in post-World War II Italy, the story of Bicycle Thieves concerns a poor father who's scavenging for any kind of work to support his family. Having secured a job after selling his precious possessions to buy a bicycle which is required to carry out the work, the future looks promising but his whole world is turned upside down when someone steals his bicycle.
Co-written & directed by Vittorio De Sica, Bicycle Thieves provides an unblinking glimpse into the daily life of civilians in post-war Italy but where it makes its strongest impact is in the devastating portrait of human spirit crushed by desperation. The screenplay keeps the conversations as natural as possible and shows that when it comes to poverty, everyone is a victim & how desperation has the ability to corrupt even the most ethical minds.
Shot in black n white, the camera splendidly captures every moment from start to finish and both the real locations as well as natural lighting only add more realism to the story. Editing also makes sure there are no dull moments once the main plot surfaces & its 93 minutes of runtime is briskly paced. And the actors do bring a high-level of authenticity to their given roles plus express their emotions in a very convincing manner.
On an overall scale, despite being nearly 70 years old, Bicycle Thieves remains as relevant today as it was back in its time. Even from a visual perspective, this film has only aged like wine plus the themes it deals with and the unforgettable statement it makes during its final moments are only timeless & universal. Absolutely living up to its legacy & unaffected by the test of time, Bicycle Thieves is an essential cinema that deserves every bit of its recognition for it is truly one of the greatest achievements in filmmaking history. Highly recommended.