Italy strikes again! In the vein of any good mafia story, the latest film from Italian director Claudio Noce is a twisty subversion of the crime drama. Shrouded in ambiguity from its very opening scene, the film is an emotional and twisty rollercoaster of emotions. Unpredictable in its simplicity, Padrenostro is a complex film that tackles on the subject of grief, trauma, and the forgiveness of past sins — all told through the perspective of a ten year-old boy. In a genre already saturated beyond belief with conventional narrative and character arcs, it’s refreshing to see a film take some artistic screenwriting incense in creating an imaginative world of violence and chaos. Life isn’t pretty, and the lens in which Padrenostro is prominently told in is a far cry from your typical mafia noir. 

A film about generational vengeance and last minute redemptions, there’s a lot to unpack in terms of narrative sustenance in Padrenostro. Prominently in due part to the film’s constant shadowing of the truth and the unreliable internal child point of view, I do wish there could have been a more prominent sense of visual storytelling at its core. Where the film succeeds in its engrossing narrative, the film unfortunately falters due to a variety of poor directing decisions. Odd slow motion and frame rate dips, alongside an oversaturated colour scheme creates less of a nostalgic effect, and more of an amateur creative vision. Where Padrenostro succeeds in telling an engaging moral parable, the film needed far more contextual weight in the creative licensing department in order to be truly labeled as the next big decade-defining crime drama. 

Padrenostro is now available to stream at this year’s 56th Chicago International Film Festival as part of the International Competition program.

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