Starring: Elio Germano, Matilda De Angelis, Luca Zingaretti
Director: Sydney Sibilia
Running Time: 117 mins
Rose Island (L’incredibile storia dell’Isola delle Rose) is an Italian film about the true story of the Republic of Rose Island, a small platform built by an engineer outside of Italy’s territorial waters, which soon went on to declare itself an independent state.
This is the kind of true story I love to see on film. You hear so often about these independent microstates established in some territorial anomaly, but to see the real story behind the founding and fall of one is utterly fascinating, and it’s delivered in such brilliantly entertaining fashion in this movie.
While Rose Island is a captivating historical drama on the surface, it’s deep down a really heartfelt and inspiring tale of an ambitious, offbeat man with dreams of going against the curve by using all of his talents and imagination, along with the help of a mismatched group of friends.
Thanks to a wonderfully likable performance from Elio Germano in the lead role, you care so much for our main man throughout the movie, to the point that this becomes a far more emotionally investing story than it ever seems at first. The portrayal of this quirky episode of history is certainly appealing, but it’s the characters which help to make Rose Island such an enjoyable film.
Coupled with excellent humour that fits with its main characters’ offbeat view of the world, Rose Island manages to blend captivating and often genuinely thought-provoking drama with crowd-pleasing entertainment, making for a historical drama that goes down so sweetly, never dragging or boring at any point.
It may not have the constantly hilarious comedy of The Boat That Rocked, and perhaps isn’t quite as touching either, but there’s something so lovable about Rose Island and its glorification of those who do seek a different path in the world, even if it comes unstuck against insurmountable obstacles.
As the story progresses and the newly-created island nation becomes more and more notorious, the stakes begin to grow to brilliantly ridiculous levels – so ridiculous that you’d be hard pressed to believe this was a true story.
However, with that historical footing and a wonderfully entertaining edge, Rose Island proves a deliriously enjoyable watch from start to finish, featuring great comedy, captivating drama, genuine emotion, inspiring and thought-provoking themes, and of course an incredible true story. So, that’s why I’m giving the film an 8.3 overall.