Festivals Film Reviews Raindance Film Festival 2024

Review: Don’t Hang Up. Fascinating heartbreak story that won’t let you blink

  • Release year: 2023
  • Director: Manfredi Lucibello.
  • Producers: Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Carlo Macchitella, Antonio Manetti and Marco Manetti.
  • Screenplay by: Jacopo Del Giudice and Manfredi Lucibello.
  • Cinematography by: Emilio Maria Costa.

Synopsis: Irene gets a phone call from her ex, he is about to kill himself unless she stops him.

Shotgun Commentary: an hour and a half of high-tension, hypnotising adventures of a woman running out of time.

Irene (Barbara Ronchi). Source: Don’t Hang Up (Manfredi Lucibello, 2023).


Don’t Hang Up (Non riattaccare) had its International premiere in Raindance Film Festival earlier this week! This film follows Irene (Barbara Ronchi) on her quest to save her ex-boyfriend’s life. When Pierto (Claudio Santamaria), the ex in question, calls her in the middle of the night to say goodbye, she rapidly gets out of her house and into a car to save him.

To get there in time, she makes him promise not to hang up their call. This means that she must always stay on the line without alerting Pietro about her intentions. An achievement that proves to be way harder than expected.

Timing is everything

The story is set during Covid. The pandemic means that there are barely any people in the streets or roads. However, it also means that it is incredibly hard to get help if needed. Irene ventures into the empty roads without any previous preparation. Thus reminding us of the isolation we got used to experiencing during those years of pandemic, as well as the resourcefulness we learned to have in order to survive those circumstances. This point in time is not the main theme of the film, but it serves as catalyst for many of the difficulties she faces.

Irene (Barbara Ronchi). Source: Don’t Hang Up (Manfredi Lucibello, 2023).

The period during which the narrative takes place is but one of many factors that one can take into consideration as proof of the incredibly clever storytelling displayed by this work. The imagination and wits necessary to create a narration like this one is clear as day for any spectator. It would be a shame to reveal any details from the story itself. So we’ll put a focus in a non-spoiler area that is actually crucial to the movie: the editing.

The rhythm of the night

Without a doubt, the editing process has shaped this film and turned it into the high-tension product that it is. To refer to Don’t Hang Up as dangerous for the faint-hearted might be putting it slightly. If you are able to breathe normally and stay with your back on the couch during the whole movie, do share your regulation techniques, please.

The pacing is just right for every step of Irene’s adventures. From the frantic, stressful moments of fast action, to the slow, tense seconds of silence that feel like years, every technical aspect of the production works in perfect harmony to get your heart rate up. Such graceful coordination speaks volumes of the incredible talent of everyone behind the cameras. Nevertheless, it is important to also address who makes everything work in front of them: Barbara Ronchi.

A rising star

Ronchi is certainly not left behind in terms of flair. Her acting abilities shine from the beginning of the feature, enhancing every moment with her intense and powerful performance. Without reaching overacting levels, she lets Irene’s emotions run high and flow freely out of her. In turn, you as a spectator will be instantly swept away by her feelings and worries, suffering with her without giving it a second thought.

Irene (Barbara Ronchi). Source: Don’t Hang Up (Manfredi Lucibello, 2023).

Irene is a woman under an incredible amount of stress who does her best to survive the experience that has been thrust upon her, saving everyone involved in the process. She is an accidental hero who fights all the elements with nothing but pure willpower and cunning, an absolutely inspiring character.

Ronchi’s as the main, and arguably only, character on screen is nothing short of inspiring either. Such a role can be incredibly demanding, yet she makes it look effortless. Delivering such a performance, she has proven that her artistry is incredibly strong and her career worth keeping an eye on.

All in all, Don’t Hang up (Non riattaccare) is one of those few examples in cinema where every part of a project works in perfect sync with the rest, delivering a fascinating story with no big flaws.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Never leave the house without your wallet.
  • Don’t call people in the middle of the night to manipulate their feelings and give them a heart attack, that’s not OK.
  • Actively trying to fix a situation will always be worth more than apologies and threats.
Irene (Barbara Ronchi). Source: Don’t Hang Up (Manfredi Lucibello, 2023).

What’s your take? Have you watched Don’t Hang Up? What do you think of the ending? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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