“Martin Eden” an Epic Journey

Available through Kino Marquee and on DVD

This is an epic story of a simple man transforming himself into a self-made super man of a different sort, and it’s an opportunity to witness eagerness and disillusion in ample doses on a wide and wary canvas. Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden (B+) adapts a classic Jack London novel to an Italian setting in which the titular sailor played marvelously by Luca Marinelli falls so deeply in love with a woman above his station (a wonderful Jessica Cressy) that he nearly loses himself in search of success in writing, education and politics. It’s illuminating even when tough at times. Veteran actor Carlo Cecchi also has a nice supporting part as a begrudging mentor. The director weaves a pulpy story with dreamlike flashbacks and a keen eye on characters. It’s not completely clear if the central romance is totally convincing, but Marinelli is so utterly committed to his role that not a moment lacks authenticity. Literary fans will enjoy the juxtaposition of an iconic American novelist’s work to foreign soil and following a classic character through his particular passages.

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