Black Souls

A former narcotics smuggler, now living peaceably in the Calabrian hills, is drawn back into his family’s drug-trade dynasty by his impetuous teenage son.


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  • ★★★★ review by Armando Maggi on Letterboxd

    I knew that this movie, "Anime nere" (Black Souls), had been compared to a modern Greek tragedy and the comparison holds.

    A desolate miserable village in the middle of nowhere in Southern Italy, a family scarred by the memory of an old murder, the scourge of organized crime, drug smuggling, and the desire to defy a hostile fate. Three brothers, three different characters. A final revenge that you don't expect but that makes sense, as a final act of rebellion.

    The actors mostly speak in a dialect that requires subtitles even for Italian speakers and who are so excellent that one is fooled to believe that they are local people.

    I will remember the dark interiors, the miserable streets, the handsome face of the young male victim.

  • ★★★½ review by Andrew on Letterboxd

    Beautifully shot, deceptively straightforward narrative, rewards patience and expertly builds tension, recommended.

  • ★★★½ review by Matt Thomas on Letterboxd

    Italian Mobster films are 10 a penny, but this one is intelligently produced. Although there isn't a stand out figure/character, the way it builds to its inevitably tragic conclusion draws you in. Perhaps predictable, but when made this competently its still a pleasure to sit back and enjoy.

  • ★★★½ review by cascione on Letterboxd

    Questo film è un piccolo gioiello: una storia solida, recitata bene, girata senza virtuosismi ma con grande personalità. Anime nere narra di una famiglia di criminali, dove la criminalità è soltanto un pretesto per raccontare la loro storia, la loro coerenza (nel bene e nel male), i loro legami con la terra (la Calabria), con le usanze e il loro mondo chiuso, così vicino a noi eppure lontano anni luce. Il paragone con altri film del genere è inevitabile, ma qui fuoriesce davvero lo spessore dei personaggi, le attività criminali sono assolutamente marginali. Un film oserei dire quasi antropologico. Con un paio di scene assolutamente memorabili e con un finale inaspettato, ma giusto. Un pugno nello stomaco, il cui dolore tarda a placarsi.

  • ★★★½ review by Simon Abrams on Letterboxd

    The narrative thrust is familiar, but the sensitive execution is very satisfying. More soon in my Village Voice review.

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