Rose Island is a comedy-drama film directed by Sydney Sibilia and starring Elio Germano, Matilda De Angelis, Leonardo Lidi, Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Luca Zingaretti and François Cluzet.
You know, the whole idea of Rose Island is so ludicrous that for a better part of the movie I was sure this was an impossible task to achieve. However, this is a true story and the fact that someone made a platform in the middle of the sea and declared it a free republic is so baffling that I don’t even know what to say.
So, what’s the story here? Around the 1960s, Italian engineer Girogio Rosa, helmed as the “prince of anarchists”, built an actual island on the Adriatic Sea which had its own bar, restaurant, souvenir shop and even a post office. The story is extraordinary and I am finding it hard to believe. But, regardless of my trust issues regarding the truthfulness of the story, this actually happened, and honestly, it’s mind-boggling that someone went ahead to create a micro-nation off the coast of Rimini in Italy.
Rose Island follows Giorgio Rosa, an eccentric but brilliant engineer, who creates an island on international waters and tries to get it recognised as an independent state.
Rosa tried to make this a symbol of freedom, where people were allowed to do anything. But the Italian government did not like this idea and decided to intervene and put an end to it. The island was a place to party for people from various parts of the world, but absolute freedom is probably not something that the government really wanted to provide anyone.
Rose Island is about freedom and about Rosa’s fight against the government. In the 60s, the law was that if you were 6 miles from the coast, it’s no man’s land and you can essentially do anything. Rosa took this little detail to heart, and it’s amazing to see how hard he fought against an entire government. He knew that he was right and that was enough for him to take his plan forward and prove himself to the world and his love.
The movie is high on sunshine and happy vibes. It’s not a mind-blowing movie by any means and has its slump moments, but the storyline is so shocking that it takes you on a fun and heartwarming ride. Rosa stands up against unjust bureaucracy and the pressures of the government and the rose-tinted glasses that it uses to showcase the various facets of Rosa’s dreams is infectious and charming. Sure, it’s absolutely bonkers but hey, you, like Rosa, will also start believing that anything is possible.
There still are, though, clichés here and the slump moments are mostly in the high and mighty offices of the government. In these moments, you mostly wait for it to get over soon so that you can see another crazy one of Rosa’s ideas. Additionally, the showdown between the army and the gang of misfits at the end is quite the cliché and feels too overdramatic. It’s not boring, but it’s just a bit much.
The acting throughout is pretty great and Elio Germano as Girogio Rosa brings forth the charm, optimism and headstrong confidence that is required in such a character. With him on board, you feel like everything is possible and it’s a charm to watch him onscreen. On the other hand, remember Matilda De Angelis from The Undoing? She’s here as Rosa’s girlfriend Gabriella and delivers another charming performance.
Summing up: Rose Island
Rose Island is a charming and fun trip that is worth a 2-hour-watch and gives you something to relax with. It’s full of optimism and shows us that anything is possible if you dream and believe in it. With believable performances and an eccentric story, this one spreads quite the charm.
Rose Island is streaming on Netflix.
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