ADAGIO on Netflix is a thriller with a crime drama plot. It’s from Italy and extremely dark and brutal in its social realism. Also, most of the characters are corrupt and male – not that those two are related. Read our full Adagio movie review here!

ADAGIO is a new Netflix addition from Italy. A very dark thriller with social realism driving its crime plot. Nobody can be trusted, everybody seems to have their own agenda. So much so that you can’t tell the difference between cops and criminals. This is not exactly unheard of yet in this Italian movie, it hits very hard.

The runtime is just over 2 hours (2 hours and 7 minutes, officially) and there are even some mid-end-credit scenes, so do stick around. Despite being relatively long, the character-driven style keeps you on the edge of your seat. And there are quite a few characters, we need to become familiar with in this movie.

Continue reading our Adagio movie review below. Find it on Netflix from May 13, 2024.

From bad to worse

In Adagio, we meet the young Manuel (played impressively by newcomer Gianmarco Franchini), who is just sixteen years old, but already in trouble. He is just trying to enjoy his life, but also takes care of his elderly father, who battles with dementia. Good and bad days are part of the young man’s life, but he gets by.

It’s a brutally hot summer in Italy, where running black-out has become normal and forest fires are visible at the edge of town.

We quickly come to learn that someone is blackmailing Manuel. The how and why of it all is something you won’t learn until later. This is a core storytelling grip of Adagio; You see what’s happening, but the background story won’t come until later. First, you get to know people, then you’ll learn if they are good or bad guys.

Adagio (2023)  Review | Crime-Drama on Netflix

Good guys versus bad guys

As a rule, however, they are guys. I mean as in male. Because this story is very focused on the men of this brutal world. Personally, I’ve grown a bit tired of this world-building where women hardly exist. As if these men don’t have sisters, daughters, wives, or mothers.

I mean, this is Italy… the country where Mama is almost as sacred as the Church!

But, as per usual, in these stories, women hardly exist and if they do, it’s only via their connection to a man.

Having said that, Adagio is fascinating and impressive storytelling as well as world-building. It’s a world where everyone seems to want something from you. That’s why the young Manuel ends up in a downward spiral. He was supposed to “just” take compromising photos of a mysterious individual.

This ends up being the very beginning of a huge mess. The blackmailers end up chasing Manuel, who turns to former “colleagues” of his now-demented father. They are also from the criminal underworld, which means he needs to go deeper into the brutal world to hopefully come out somewhere, he can leave the underworld behind.

Watch Adagio on Netflix now

Director Stefano Sollima had his debut in 2012 with A.C.A.B.: All Cops Are Bastards. He followed this up with the 2015 movie Suburra and Adagio is the third movie in what has been called a “loose thematic trilogy”. With the core subject of social realism and corrupt cops, it feels like a very natural trilogy to me.

The screenplay also comes from Stefano Sollima who co-wrote it with Stefano Bises. The two also worked together on the crime-thriller series ZeroZeroZero (2019-2020).

As a director, Stefano Sollima has also done English-language movies. These include the 2021 Amazon Original movie Without Remorse starring Michael B. Jordan, and the Sicario sequel Sicario 2: Soldado (2018).

Up next from the director is an Italian miniseries about a serial killer. It’s true crime and I am ready for it. Before that miniseries – which is about the serial killer known as the Monster of Florence – comes out, you should check out Adagio on Netflix now!

ADAGIO is out on Netflix on May 13, 2024.


Director: Stefano Sollima
Screenwriters: Stefano Bises, Stefano Sollima
Stars: Pierfrancesco Favino, Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Adriano Giannini, Gianmarco Franchini, Francesco Di Leva, Lorenzo Adorni, Silvia Salvatori


Tangled up with blackmail and crooked cops, the son of a former gangster seeks out his father’s old friends, who risk everything to save him.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
Latest posts by Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard (see all)