Review of Diabolik, the Manetti Bros film with Luca Marinelli, Miriam Leone and Valerio Mastandrea from streaming.
There was great anticipation for the first modern cinematic adaptation of Diabolik, the historic comic book creature of the Giussani sisters for Astorina, after the 1968 cult pop of Mario Bava with John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell and Michel Piccoli. As we will try to explain in this ours Diabolik review, from 16 December to the cinema, the heavy legacy – both paper and audiovisual – has been taken by the Manetti Bros. and by the trio Luca Marinelli, Miriam Leone and Valerio Mastandrea and the result goes halfway. A dark and stormy road like those in the film.
One of the strengths of the film is the punctual and detailed reconstruction of the fictional 60s locations of the comics – from the capital Clerville to the mountainous center Bellair, where the film’s prologue takes place, up to the coastal city of Ghenf – but also of the costumes and make-up and wig of the characters, halfway between the character actor and the over the top. Everything on the screen exudes comic pages transposed in live action version, as if they came to life to paint a series of cartoons in sequence, thanks also to having shot in locations such as Bologna and Trieste to return a certain type of particular urban landscape, unique in its genre, including cars whizzing through dark and stormy streets.
The characterization of the characters – from Luca Marinelli’s glacial Diabolik to Miriam Leone’s seductive Eva Kant to Valerio Mastandrea’s all in one piece Ginko – travels alternately, sometimes with excessive acting, sometimes too impassive. But – despite the film being called Diabolik – as we all know from the comics and the famous number 3 to which the Manetti Bros. were inspired – there is no King of Terror without Eva Kant and it is mainly female rather than male figures that emerge in the film.
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The film uses the characters – especially the female ones who are almost more relevant than the male ones by stealing the show – to talk about feminist themes, even litteram and extremely (and sadly, we should add) current. To make a better figure in front of the public are in fact Eva and Elisabeth by Serena Rossi, two women subjugated in a different way by the protagonist but who at the same time manage to emancipate themselves. Eva is infatuated with the King of Terror but remains independent, lucid, calculating: a femme fatale in all respects with some legacy of her Veronica Castelli in the 1992 saga due to the painful past that both share. Elisabeth, on the other hand, is totally lost in her own anxieties and obsessions, as if she were a prisoner in the big house where she lives: waiting for her beloved Walter to come home, for him to look at her intently, for him to give her the attention she longs for, ending up prey to the own nervous breakdown. An exhaustion, however, born of a real emotional abuse by man. A subtle but interesting theme to be included in this film and in our contemporary.
At the same time, the two male figures should also return the concept of Double, but they don’t succeed fully: Diabolik and Ginko should represent two sides of the same coin, yin and yang, darkness and light that alternate and mix. , which would have no sense of existing one without the other, but this does not fully reach the viewer, due to a slightly plastered interpretation in the atmosphere of the 60s and in their own clothes by the two actors. The true “double” of Diabolik is thus Giorgio (Alessandro Roja), who represents the Law and at the same time the one who is subjugated and deceived by Lady Kant.
Explain that twist to me
But that atmosphere is wonderfully restored by the Manetti Bros. thanks also to the homages to classic cinema, first of all that of Alfred Hitchcock, with some shots and some camera movements that are aimed at showing the more thriller and noir side of the story through technical mannerisms. , details and close-ups, including the make-up and hair of the characters where nothing is ever out of place, not even a hair. On a narrative level, the succession of events, which start with a nice chase and a compelling prologue, becomes more and more elementary as the film runs on the big screen: a set of cause and effect that is sometimes too simplistic, thought almost to a target that needs a lot of explanations about what they are seeing, even chronologically, including quite predictable plot twists. A cinecomic “too Italian”, in short, and yet the atmosphere that the film gives us is so “frozen in time”, almost magical, that we forgive the slips of script and acting, and the classicism of this Diabolik year 2021 and yet so 1960, which we see as a tribute to an ancient yet timeless history. A story of thefts, murders, strangled loves and overwhelming passions.
We conclude our review of this Diabolik by Manetti Bros. observing how it is evident that the directors wanted to pay homage to a certain classic cinema and at the same time to the original paper counterpart, trying to capture it on the big screen above all through a careful reconstruction in the sets, in the costumes. , in the makeup, in the shots and in the details. The female characters emerge more than the male ones, bringing to light the theme of emotional abuse and female emancipation, forgiving some slips in the script that are a little too elementary in the succession of cause and effect of events.
Because we like it
The comics and 60s atmosphere strongly curated between sets, costumes and make-up. The direction that pays homage to great classics of the thriller and noir genre such as Hitchcock.