Subject, screenwriting, direction:
Edward Bass, Emilio Estevez, Lisa Niedenthal, Athena Stensland Per Bold Films Llc
Italian dialogues and dubbing direction:
Dubbing sound technician:
Vittorio De Angelis
Helen Hunt: E
William H. Macy:
Stefano De Sando
Massimo De Ambrosis
Estevez creates a genial way of telling the story of Senator Robert Kennedy’s last day, the 5th of June 1968, when he was shot by Sirhan Sirhan at the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles by telling the story through employees and clients of a purposefully quoted “Grand Hotel”, allowing us to witness the very same America to which Kennedy directed all his attention. The tragic event remains in the shadows and is portrayed almost like an interruption to real, everyday life with an interesting inversion of events.
The dubbing isn’t a total waste, especially as far as the direction is concerned: the main interpreters/actors have excellent and sensitive dubbers; the only discussable choice is perhaps that of Stefano De Sando, which doesn’t seem quite attached to Martin Sheen. The Italian dialogues show a fairly good level of professionalism, with a very good lip-sync, but with a good dose of some wandering from the point and syntactical forms seen in English and non-existent in Italian. As an example, the black politician can’t call «negri» (negroes) his own kind, because there’s an almost rigid, unbreakable law on the politically correct way of defining black Americans and in ’68 “negro” wouldn’t have been correct; the electoral coordinator defines the voting system «legittimo» (legitimate) instead of “legale” (legal); the Czech journalist asks Christian Slater to check where Czechoslovakia is «su una mappa» (on a map), and so on.
But in my view the most serious mistake, which would have destroyed even the most perfect dubbing (and which heavily influenced the evaluation of both dialogues and direction) was that of not dubbing HIM, Kennedy, whose words, from the television or in the re-created scenes of the last speech at the Ambassador, are the backbone and commentary to the whole film. Likewise, neither was the CBS journalist who interviews him dubbed nor the one who announced the journalistic coverage.
The effect is of total unreality, as though all those people were watching a programme on Sky of a foreign president. The reason of such an unacceptable choice escapes me; the result is that the beautiful words of Bobby Kennedy on peace, cohabitation and compassion which are moving, which render one indignant and which give a sense to everything, seem to reach us from another planet, estranged, decontestualized. I don’t know if the idea was of the dialogist/dubbing director or of the distributor, but to read subtitles whilst one should be experiencing the end of a collective dream is doubly hurtful for the Italian viewer.
[original review in Italian by Giovanni Rampazzo]