Lee Towler’s review published on Letterboxd:
Bicycle Thieves is a pretty great movie, I like it a lot. Yes, that's all, I just liked it quite a lot. Another cinematic masterpiece that I just liked a bit. For its time I think this film would have been wonderful, in all honesty it's still wonderful; just slightly less so than in 1948.
My problem with the movie is the characters, I liked Antonio and everything but I couldn't tell you much more about the guy other than he's poor, kind, and determined to get his bike back. I think he deserves to get his bike back, but more for the support of his family. All the characters are like this, I like a lot of them, but they're so underdeveloped that by the time the famous ending comes round it lacks the impact it should have.
The ending is perfect, it's absolutely perfect in its own right but due to how lacking all the characters were I couldn't love this movie. If that one aspect was fleshed out more this would be a perfect movie instead of just a very good one. The story and themes are simplistic but universal, this is a very relatable film filled with underdeveloped albeit very likeable characters who I want to succeed. The writing is great for its time and today; the camerawork while I don't agree with the so high acclaim it garners is still fantastic; the performances are realistic and believable, making the movie that bit more relatable.
Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves is so close to being a masterpiece and for its time it is a great piece of cinema that I enjoyed very much, but the underdeveloped characters have not aged it well enough to reach the brilliance it is so close to. In every other aspect it excelled and I very much enjoyed the movie, I was just slightly disappointed by how let down by my expectations I was. Nonetheless a classic piece of film for any cinephile to see.