FOUR STARS A couple of high-school kids become hit men for the mob after accidentally running over a stranger.
Andrea Carpenzano, Matteo Olivetti
DRAMA ITALIAN LANGUAGE #BOYSCRY
It’s not just the boys who are crying by the time you get to the end of this quite incredible yet thoroughly dispiriting drama by Italian newcomers, Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo. The titular boys, Mirko and Manolo, are a couple of high-school kids from a rough part of Rome who do what all kids do, dream of a better life. When they kill a random stranger in a hit-and-run accident, they turn to Manolo’s father for help. Realising that the stranger was wanted by the local mob, he seeks to better all their fortunes by claiming the kill and in turn, securing work for the boys.
It’s pretty clear that this is no path to a stable career, unfortunately no one bothered to tell Mirko, Manolo or his Dad. Dazzled by easy cash and a faulty moral compass, the boys are soon enroute to certain tragedy, one you can’t help but feel plays out over and again in Italy’s poorer regions. Yet this is more than a dire tale of kids who’ve run amok, BOYS CRY serves as an intelligent, compelling morality tale of our times.
You might wonder why you should give a rats for a couple of cretins who take to their foul deeds like proverbial ducks in a downpour. Yet therein the reason; the world is full of opportunists all too willing to ensnare less than fully-formed kids like Mirko and Manolo for their own piteous ends. That the boys are ill-equipped to fend for themselves, and desperately in need of moral guidance, is exactly why we should care. In what’s perhaps the film’s best scene - Mirko arrives with half an Apple Store’s worth of birthday gifts for his much younger sister, simply to impress upon his mother that he, Mirko, has arrived - speaks to this point with the cut-through of a fog horn.
Technically accomplished and artfully shot with a platter of poisonous colours, BOYS CRY is a worthy addition to the canon of Italian films of despair like A PROPHET and GOMORRAH. Although it doesn’t say anything new, the devil’s always loitered around the edges of a scene, ready to strike a deal. That he does so here simply to make a couple of kids feel a bit more grown up isn’t going to surprise anyone. That’s what make the film so dispiriting, and important.