Commander (2023) Edoardo De Angelis

The multiplicity and variety of Italian dialects, as well as the numerous recipes known to the ship’s cook, really represent in the Comandante the true essence of our nation. Edoardo De Angelis tells us this over and over again. Too many times. So many times that he fell into rhetoric and almost forced benefactors and dangerously carried away by any cliches. Opening film of the 80th Venice Film Festival, competing for the Golden Lion.

Yesterday, how is today?

Undoubtedly Commander – the fifth feature film for the cinema of the Neapolitan director Edoardo De Angelis, as well as the opening film80th Venice Film Festival, claiming the coveted Golden Lion – tells more about a unique than a rare episode of the Second World War. An episode that, in fact, is also directly related to the present in which we live. However, as we well know, what matters in the end is how things are staged. There is indeed potential for this operation, no doubt, but in order to draw conclusions, we must first take a step back in time.

What happened in 1940

Commander, a frame from the film
“Commander”, a still from the film by Edoardo De Angelis

In 1940 he commanded the submarine Regia Marina. Salvatore Todaro he rescued twenty-six Belgian soldiers from the Kabalo, which he had previously sunk with artillery fire. Despite the war, and despite suspicions that, despite their declared neutrality, they might be allied with the British, Todaro decided to temporarily “forget” the conflict (even sailing on the spot and thus endangering his life and the lives of his men). to get the castaways to safety as far as the Azores. Thus, from this episode, De Angelis took the cue for his own Commanderentrusting the role to Todaro Pierfrancesco Favino. So, is an event of this magnitude and a great actor enough to make this feature film of yours truly worth watching? He said soon.

man of the sea

Commander Pierfrancesco Favino during a scene from the film.
Captain Pierfrancesco Favino during a scene from a film by Edoardo De Angelis.

An accident resulting in disability. Loving Wife (performed by Ilaria D’Amico) and a newborn son. Salvatore Todaro, who was seriously injured in 1939 and has since been forced to wear a corset, could stop and enjoy family life. And yet, a sea man always needs to be in his element. And in fact, in CommanderThe protagonist often repeats that he is a man of the sea, a “real Italian”, ready to sacrifice himself in order to make the morally and humanly correct choice.

French fries and mandolin

Commander, moment from the movie
“Commander”, a still from the film by Edoardo De Angelis

The variety and variety of Italian dialects, as well as the many recipes known to the chef on board, truly reflect the true essence of our nation. De Angelis tells it to us over and over again. Too many times. So many times that he fell into rhetoric and almost forced philanthropists and dangerously carried away by any cliches (the scene in which, during dinner with french fries – strictly Belgian – the chef improvises on a mandolin ‘O Surdato ‘Nammurato probably the least successful moment of the entire film), to the point that he “forgot” to contextualize the expedition itself, in which Todaro and his team took part.


Commander, a frame from the film
“Commander”, a still from the film by Edoardo De Angelis

Sin. Because, as already mentioned, the episode itself is undoubtedly very interesting. The aforementioned clichés and staging, involving – for most of the first half of the film – the use of a voice-over (sometimes the main character, then his wife, then even the wife of the ship’s cook, to whom, after a short opening scene, not a single frame is dedicated anymore) are so abundant that was over the top, drastically diluting the still-successful shoulder-camera effects, close-ups of the protagonists, and Mascagni’s timeless music, yet made it all lose its impact and mordant. CommanderTherefore, unfortunately, the opening of the exhibition was rather disappointing. Despite its many possibilities.



Original name: Commander
Director: Edward DeAngelis
Country/year: Italy, Belgium / 2023
Duration: 155 minutes
Type: Dramatic
Throw: Pierfrancesco Favino, Massimiliano Rossi, Giuseppe Brunetti, Giustiniano Alpi, Alessandro Bandini, Giacomo Bottoni, Giuseppe Lo Piccolo, Mario Russo, Pietro Angelini, Andrea Ferrara, Arianna di Claudio, Giulio Greco, Johan Heldenberg, Johannes Viriks, Luca Chikovani, Lucas Tavernier, Olivier Langendries, Silvia D’Amico, Tim Daish
Screenplay: Edoardo De Angelis, Sandro Veronesi
Photo: Ferran Paredes
Assembly: Lorenzo Peluso
Music: Robert Del Naja, Ewan Dickinson
Director: Attilio De Razza, Nicola Giuliano, Pierpaolo Verga, Edoardo De Angelis
Production house: O’Groove, Tramp Ltd., VGroove, Rai Cinema, Beside Productions, Indigo Film, Wise Pictures
Distribution: 01 Distribution

Release date: 01/11/2023


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After graduating from the Sapienza University of Rome with a degree in Modern Languages, Literature and Translation Studies, I graduated from the Griffith Academy of Film and Television with a degree in directing and screenwriting in Rome, as well as a film criticism seminar at the Cinematography Experimental Center. Since 2013 I have been writing about cinema for the Entr’Acte blog, for the Roma newspaper and for, Mondospettacolo, Cabiria Magazine and of course Asbury Movies. President of the cinema club “La Carrozza d’Oro”, in 2019 I founded the magazine “Austrian Cinema”.

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