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Eric Roth


Eric Roth


Robert De Niro

Produced by:

American Zoetrope, Ieg, Tribeca Productions, Universal Pictures, Morgan Creek Productions

Distributed by:


italian edition:


italian dialogues:

Francesco Vairano

Dubbing direction:

Francesco Vairano

dubbing sound technician:

Antonello Giorgiucci

sound mixer technician:

Roberto Moroni


Technicolor Sound Services


Matt Damon:

Massimiliano Manfredi

Angelina Jolie:

Silvia Tognoloni

Robert De Niro:

Stefano De Sando

William Hurt:

Sergio Di Stefano

Alec Baldwin:

Paolo Buglioni

John Turturro:

Pasquale Anselmo

Billy Crudup:

Roberto Certomà

Lee Pace:

Antonio Palumbo


The Good Shepherd
Usa 2006

Let's immediately say that De Niro's second try as a director has not worked out: unnecessarily long, assembled badly and above all too confused: the description of a country for old people in which the real government is the CIA, deeply rooted in the best of society and at the very heart of the institutions so much so that any slight appearance of democracy appears vain and indolent, needed clarity, precisely due to a “civil” theme having been chosen and an essayistic, reading key rather than a narrative one.

In the general confusion, in which at most we perceive rather than understand, the dubbing certainly does not help, adding a series of stylistic errors, directorial and even linguistic which do not do honour to Francesco Vairano, dialoghist and director who, in many other occasions, we have complimented for his precision and sensibility. In this context, the interpretation of the dubbers is generally discreet without heights of excellency or mediocrity if one excludes an excessive series of intonation errors, always in trivial scenes and therefore not even motivated by incomprehension of the text.

But it's in the adaptation that the dubbing slips relentlessly. To start with, it was decided to keep President Kennedy's original voice. The decision not to dub real persons in a fictional film is, in my opinion, always open to discussion. Are real persons never to be dubbed or is it decided on a scale of importance? Leaving aside the second, reverential hypothesis, let's say immediately that the effect gained is contrary to the effect desired. The intention of inserting documentary pieces in a film is to say: this story is not true but it could be and the presence of a real life person renders this believable. But whilst in the original, common linguistic talking renders the story-line credible, in choosing multilingual dubbing, the intention of keeping the documentary tone of the original, is wasted: if I know that the voices of all the actors, already fictional, aren't even their own and the only one to talk with his own voice (and in order to be clearer, in his own language) is the only true, real character, I won't, for a minute, believe that the story could be true.

Furthermore, Kennedy's words aren't placed there by chance, but certain fragments of speech have been chosen concerning the institutions' responsibility just to counterpoint the real mechanism of power which detracts from the roles, which perhaps is the only real role of the false democracy in which we live. Not casual words therefore which could have easily been heard with the same dignity with which we hear those of the other characters of the story. And here is the second useless slip: the subtitles are totally incomprehensible, even grammatically incorrect. An example, just to clarify(?): “Ho detto quanto utilmente può essere detto da me sugli avvenimenti di questi ultimi giorni. Ulteriori dichiarazioni, dettagliate discussioni non devono celare responsabilità perché io sono l’ufficiale responsabile”. (I said what I could usefully say on the events of these last days. Further declarations, detailed discussions must not hide responsibility because I'm the official responsible.) What was he trying to say?

Same comprehension defect is found in the dialogues. Here too are a few examples of lines of which the significance – out or in the context – is difficult to grasp unless one possesses a code cipher which was not included with the Dvd: "Il tuo nome è sulla lista molto preoccupante" (your name is on the list very worrying”; "A volte i piani più minuziosi degli uomini e dei topi. (pausa) Fa’ attenzione" (sometimes the most detailed plans of men and mice. (pause) be careful”; "Ringraziamo quelli che hanno messo a disposizione l’isola perché possiamo usarla con comodità e riservatezza" (let's thank those who have given us the island in order to use it in comfort and discretion; "stato sbadato. Non è stato capace di nascondersi in piena vista" (he was careless. He hasn't been capable of hiding himself in full sight”; "L’abilità mentale di scoprire cospirazioni e tradimenti è verosimilmente la stessa qualità che corrode il giudizio innato" (the mental ability of discovering conspiracies and betrayals is likely the same quality which corrodes the inner judgement”.

Then we have a series of useless, careless translations, registral errors and errors of form following the original such as: "Si è rotto il vetro e lo sto facendo riparare" (the glass is broken and I'm having it repaired) the object is a picture frame and although we are in times of war, however cold, the glass of a frame is changed not repaired; “Sento che abbiamo come un’affinità di spirito" (I feel that we have like an affinity of spirit) (expressed by a literature professor, this does not show maximum style); “Le va un pasto fatto in casa?" “would you like a homemade cake?" (expressed by a German interpreter who, for the most, speaks very well, having even read, as we are told, Ovid's Metamorphoses”; "Vorrei unirmi alla Cia.” (I would like to unite myself with the CIA) “e' questo che voglio fare, unirmi all’Agenzia" (this is what I want to do, unite myself with the agency) (in Italian the term “unirsi” has been used instead of the more correct expression “entrare nella” (join) and it has been used twice); "Se il professore non vuole sentire ragioni, tieni due piedi in una scarpa" (if the professor doesn't want to hear reason keep your options open" (here the meaning is perceived in being 'be vague' as in when in difficulty be evasive; in Italian: one foot in two shoes and not two feet in one shoe); "Lo voglio" (I do) (is the “yes” at the altar which is heard only in the Italian dubbing because it appears to be the only synchronous form with the English “I will”, but it could have been avoided seeing as it was an off screen shot).

In the albeit rare dialogues between the spouses Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie (the two live apart until they really do separate, maybe, it crosses our mind, precisely due to non-communication), the dialogues are close to total nonsense:

  • - Allora come stai? Stai salvando il mondo? Ci tieni al sicuro? (So how are you? Saving the world? You keeping us safe?)
  • - Qualche volta. (Sometimes)
  • - Sono giunti i miei ordini. Devo andare oltremare. (Orders have come through. I have to go abroad). (she doesn't answer him here, perhaps perplexed by the unusual form but further on she pays him back when telling him:
  • - Vado a Phoenix a vivere con mia madre.
    (I'm going to Phoenix to live with my mother) whereas the fundamental information would be the fact that she's leaving, to go and live with her mother, in Phoenix.
  • - Cosa hai sentito di tuo fratello John? (what have you heard about your brother John?
  • - Pensavo sapessi che è morto in Birmania.(I thought you knew he died in Birmania)
  • - Non ne hai fatto menzione nelle lettere. (You didn't mention it in your letters).

One last thing to point out, forgiveable if it were the only one: Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” is edited in Italy under the title of “Un canto di Natale” and not “Cantico di Natale” (Christmas canticle).

Let's hope that for Vairano this was a mere slip-up.

[original review in Italian by Giovanni Rampazzo]


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