For years, I had heard that this was one of the best movies ever made that starred a bicycle. Heartwrenching was a word to describe the film. Moving. Touching.
I thought it was okay, if not a little soft in the ending. The thing I can’t stand about movies is when they spell out the plot for you, so you don’t even have to think. And that’s exactly what happens in the Bicycle Thief.
In the film, Antonio Ricci and his son Bruno spend more than half the story-line chasing down the villain who stole Antonio’s bicycle. Without the bicycle, Antonio cannot work.
Here, the bicycle takes on its own character; it is not just a means of transportation. We are in post-war Italy now, where the bicycle is a symbol of sustenance, of survival, of work. Just to get his bicycle back from the pawn shop, his wife Maria pawns the very sheets from their bed.
Once it is clear that Antonio will not get his bicycle back, we are shown the true depths of a man’s desperation, as he who was once robbed becomes a thief himself.
I want to tell you that this movie was a disappointment to me, because just before I had a chance to revel in what I thought was going to be sadness and despair, up the screen appeared one word, a ridiculous stylistic tool used to explain to us that all would work out. This is filmmaking at its absolute lowest. That word was: