On My Skin (2018)

I was talking with my mother the other day and that's when I found out about Alessio Cremonini's On My Skin (Italian: Sulla mia pelle), one of the first Italian movies produced by Netflix. That, however, is not the reason it caught my attention. Its subject is, it being the infamous case of Stefano Cucchi.

Just in case you are not familiar with it, on the night of October 15 2009, Stefano Cucchi (Alessandro Borghi), a 31-year-old ex-junkie, is arrested after being found in possession of some packs of hashish and 2 grams of cocaine. He is taken into custody by the Carabinieri and a week later he dies of wounds. 

The plot is very simple as it follows the last days of Stefano, who finds himself alone, denied his trusted lawyer, and at the mercy of the Carabinieri, and it unfolds very slowly. These two, however, aren't the reasons On My Skin wasn't as compelling as it could have been. The problem is that Cremonini tells the story as if he was reading a newspaper, without taking a stand. He simply tells facts, those we know for sure, and because of it, the film feels robbed. On the other hand, Cremonini does a great job at telling Stefano's story, as he leaves no doubt that the initial beating was the primary cause of death, aggravated by a lack of medical treatment in several Roman hospitals and Cucchi's initial silence as he was probably afraid of what the Carabinieri would have done to him if he were to speak up.

The performance from Alessandro Borghi as Stefano Cucchi is nothing short of outstanding. Physically reminiscent of Michael Fassbender's in Steve McQueen's Hunger, Borghi becomes Stefano as he conveys the young man's resignation and the hope that silence will get him out of the absurd situation alive. It is devastatingly haunting, heartwrenching to see his transformation from health-ish man, as he already was malnourished and very skinny, to living corpse. The rest of the cast provides solid support, especially Jasmine Trinca who brings to the screen the determination and indignation of Ilaria Cucchi, Stefano's sister.

Lucky Red, Netflix
While I wasn't very fond of the scipt and Cremonini's choice of not taking a stand, him choosing a simple production design and sets, and the clean and slick cinematography as they make the film visually striking without taking away the focus from Stefano. The music, on the other hand, feels intrusive and over-sentimental at times.


  1. A me non sembra che Cremonini non prenda posizione, anzi. La sua posizione è molto chiara: in uno Stato di diritto un cittadino non può morire per mano dello Stato, innocente o colpevole che sia. Se Cucchi è morto per le percosse (intenzionali) dei poliziotti o per negligenza dei medici, questo lo stabilirà la magistratura, ma il senso non cambia: quando una persona viene presa in consegna dallo Stato, lo Stato ha il dovere di preservarne l'integrità fisica e morale. Cosa che nel caso di Cucchi (ripeto, colpevole o innocente che sia, santo oppure spacciatore) oggettivamente non c'è stata.

    1. Sì, il messaggio passa, e sono d'accorto con te, colpevole o innocente nessuno si merita di esser trattato così, però secondo me doveva essere un po più esplicito.