The latest in an increasingly exhausting sweep of Italian imports about that country’s political tensions in the late Sixties and Seventies, Daniele Luchetti’s My Brother Is an Only Child is, for a little more than half of its running time, a serviceable middlebrow jaunt through the life of Accio (Vittorio Emanuele Propizio as a boy, Elio Germano as an adult), a young misfit who turns to fascism to find camaraderie and escape from a distressed home life. The film hits all the stations of the cross of political awakening along the way; call it This Is Italy. There’s certainly more to it than that, though—Luchetti shoehorns a lot of plot into 105 minutes, and so we also follow the story of Accio’s brother, Manrico (Ricardo Scarmaccio), a dickish, womanizing sort increasingly drawn into revolutionary deeds as a communist activist, and that of the woman caught between them, Francesca (Diane Fleri), who’s just comely enough that Accio, distressed by the bureaucracy of his fellow fascists, decides communism might be the ideology for him after all (guh?).
At about this point, with a little less than an hour left to go, the film sputters out, devolving from an intriguing study of the politics of familial estrangement to a ho-hum romance of Pretty People Looking at Each Other Wistfully. Click here to read Brendon Bouzard’s review of My Brother Is an Only Child.