The film, a French-Italian offering, is about a man Luciano and his obsession with the popular reality show Big Brother. How his want for being featured on the show turns him into a fame-hungry monster, is what ‘Reality’ focuses on.
Wonderfully conceived by Matteo Garrone, ‘Reality’ comprises wonderful performances, Aniello Arena, in particular, who plays the lead. The subject is a very relatable one for any sort of culture. The enchanting music, composed by Alexandre Desplat, escalates the film to a different level altogether.
Luciano runs a fairly successful fish store in the heart of Naples. However, in order to make ends meet, he also runs a side-business which involves selling kitchen 'robots' in the neighbourhood.
He also does his bit at the weddings enthralling the guests. Here, he gets overshadowed by the local popular reality star Enzo. His popularity among kids, women and the city folk, makes Luciano want to feature on Big Brother as well. He is egged on by his wife Maria, his kids and the extended family to give an audition for the much-talked-about reality show. He reluctantly gives in but then, the lust for fame does him in.
The subject of the film is one that relates across all cultures. Reality shows have captured the imagination of most middle-class households around the world. The short-lived, yet rich-dividend paying fame attracts all and sundry.
The magical camerawork by Marco Onorato works wonders for the screenplay. Italy has been captured beautifully in the film. The long shots, in particular, give the film a charming look. The screenplay too, is wonderful. Silence has been used very meticulously and conveys the melancholy that the principal character is going through. Director Matteo Garrone mixes light-hearted banter wonderfully with the grim helplessness of his protagonist. The film subtly asks the question, ‘Is the hunger for fame 'self-destructive'?’
The film tackles an interesting subject with a fair bit of maturity. There are funny moments galore, and the story reminds you of the wonderful Italian classics of the old. Lovely story, well told.