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Without Conscience (2004)

Cast: Maurizio Mattioli, Maurizio Mattioli, Manrico Gammarota, more...
Director: Stefano Reali, Stefano Reali
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Picture This
Genre: Foreign, Italy, Quest, Road Movies
Running Time: 104 min.
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Without Conscience stars Maurizio Mattioli as a lonely middle-age male nurse who agrees to transport a boy from Rome to Switzerland so the boy can be delivered to his new adoptive parents. Joining them on the voyage is a young man named Rob (Valerio Foglia Manzillo). The two older men soon form an unlikely friendship from which they both are able to improve their lives. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The "Find" of the Year by talltale December 3, 2005 - 8:09 AM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Encountering a film that's a diamond in the rough is a wonderful, unexpected (and much too rare) treat. Most good movies--and a lot of mediocre-to-bad ones--come to us lavished with festival awards and press bouquets. WITHOUT CONSCIENCE (the American video title for the Italian "Verso Nord," made in 2004) seems to arrive out of nowhere and fills this bill to a tee. But there's a problem: The DVD packaging and marketing makes this look like a gay-themed comedy.

While there is some real humor now and again and a leading man (Valerio Foglia Manzillo from 2002s "The Embalmer") as beautiful and sexy as any currently on screen, this ploy does the film a terrible disservice. From other comments posted on web rentals services, this seems to be setting up gay audiences for a disappointment, rather than encouraging them to experience something much richer, more inclusive and humane than mere sexual identity.

The film is best approached (as are most) by knowing little about it. So I'll just say that it combines a road movie with burgeoning friendship, sex, crime, tradition and exaltation. The "holy fool"--a staple of fiction and film from "Don Quixote" to "Rain Man"--receives one of its finest modern interpetations here, and Manzillo does a sterling job with the role (why doesn't this actor work more often?) The deceptive plot builds beautifully, and in the process skewers present-day Italy and the specific hypocrisies of culture/character that appear to run the country and its citizens. (America has it own version; this one is quite Italianate, with the doctor at the pediatric clinic as its perfect example.)

The characters of "Verso Nord" grow and change--in increments large or small--with absolute believability. For all its surprise, humor and immense life, the movie is extremely dark. Yet, due to the fine performances and the strong sense of pacing and information-giving from writer/director Stefano Reali, in just two hours' time, it seems to deliver the whole world truthfully. The ending is nearly operatic, but this is Italy, so why not? By its finale, this compassionate film has earned its every shock, tear and drop of blood. You may not be as blown away as I by "Verso Nord," but I'll bet you'll be impressed and glad you took a chance.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.50)
2 Votes
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