by Stefano Sollima (2023)

Sixteen-year-old Manuel finds himself involved in a game bigger than himself, involving three old legends of Rome’s criminal underworld.


“Do you know what’s the worst thing? It’s what you listen to with those headphones.”

Rome Burns.

The stunning aerial shot with which Adagio opens and closes shows us the capital burning, with an unquenchable fire. It’s dark, and there’s a fire raging, the scenario appearing apocalyptic, while continuous blackouts further plunge everything into the abyss.
This is the deep meaning of this work, a sort of 24-hour journey inside a collapsed universe.
Forget the Rome of monuments, of tourist postcards, and get ready to immerse yourself in narrow alleys, in the high-rise buildings of the suburbs, in the hidden corners.
In those places where everything seems wrong, where everything is condemnable, where decay becomes the protagonist, and where there seems to be no more hope for humanity.


Stefano Sollima returns home with Adagio after his American trips for “Soldado” and “Without Remorse.”
The opportunity is to complete the trilogy on Rome’s criminal underworld, after “Romanzo Criminale” (the series) and “Suburra.”
The main characters are walking dead, like Romero’s zombies, physically worn out by a life of excess and by the torrid and hostile climate.
Among them is Cammello, an extraordinary Pierfrancesco Favino, with a powerful body and sunken eyes, his gaze perpetually grim. Terminally ill and forced to come to terms with a past that continues to haunt him, whether he likes it or not.
Then there’s Daytona, who has the face of the always perfect Toni Servillo, here particularly skilled at characterizing a character teetering between moments of senile dementia and lucidity. Masterful and particularly tense, in this regard, is the scene in which he is seen with a knife in hand.
And finally, there’s Pol Niuman, a very talented Valerio Mastandrea, blind and confined to a room listening to folk music.
They are all old members of the Magliana gang who now live on the fringes of society, tired and disillusioned, in complete solitude.
And on the other side are those policemen who should be synonymous with legality and security. But, as often happens in Sollima’s cinema (ACAB), they end up looking worse than the criminals.
Among them stands out the figure of Vasco, played by Adriano Giannini, who with his mobile phone tries to protect his children while he goes around following his criminal affairs.
And so the only glimmer of hope seems to be the children themselves, the only ones still able to try to change things. We find them, not by chance, in one of the final scenes, after a rain of ash seems to have lowered the curtain on a universe made of squalid characters without redemption.
Adagio is a metropolitan noir, in the deepest sense of the term.
But above all, it’s a wonderful film, with a tight pace, despite the title, and with an international breath.
Well-made and even better acted.
A true pride for our cinema.

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