Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (They call me Jeeg) was one of the most interesting movie of the Italian cinematographic panorama of 2016. Directed and produced by Gabriele Mainetti and starring Claudio Santamaria (Enzo), Luca Marinelli (the Gipsy) and Ilenia Pastorelli (Alessia), it has been proposed as one of the seven Italian film that could compete for 2017 Academy Awards. Finally, after a long stay in Lisbon that prevented me from watching it, I did it.
(this clip was one of the reasons I wanted to watch it)
Rewarded with seven David di Donatello (among which Best New Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor – Luca Marinelli was simultaneously nominated in this category also for Non essere cattivo), Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot tells the story of Enzo (Claudio Santamaria), a small criminal that, after getting in touch with a radioactive substance, develops superpowers. Alessia (Ilenia Pastorelli), the daughter of one of Enzo’s mate who was killed during a failed drug-trade operation, starts to think that Enzo is Hiroshi Shiba, the main character of the manga Jeeg-Robot, and encourages him to stop stealing and to help people. Lonely, grumpy and resigned Enzo questions his life thanks to his new abilities and to Alessia’s affection, but only a dramatic event will make him decide to change and to fight Fabio Cannizzaro, a.k.a. The Gipsy, a psycho gangster obsessed with the desire of fame.
In a padded escalation of violence, Gabriele Mainetti creates an Italian superhero- finally! – that differs from any other I have ever seen. However, some elements miss to Enzo/Santamaria’s character who, despite his intensity, is inevitably flattened by the charismatic Gypsy/Marinelli and the naive Alessia/Pastorelli. The cast is also enhanced by Salvatore Esposito, the “infamous” Gennaro “Genny” Savastano from Gomorra – I was expecting to see a copy of Genny but I was completely wrong.
Even though some aspects of the script left me puzzled, like the development of Enzo after the second twist plot that could have actually been used for the plot of a sequel, this film surely involves and makes sympathize with the characters. In addition to this important aspects, the CGI effects are admirable and the soundtrack is amazing, as you can see from the videos.
I am still pleasantly surprised by Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot and I believe that Gabriele Mainetti has indisputably innovated the Italian cinema’s panorama.