British film The Bike Thief by Matt Chambers shares a lot of similarities with the acclaimed film, Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves) by Vittorio De Sica. The similarity in premise was intended to pay homage to the acclaimed film but does the narrative of The Bike Thief has the same impact?
‘The Bike Thief’ Summary
A Romanian immigrant called The Rider (Alec Secareanu) works as a food delivery guy roaming around the night streets of London on his precious motorbike. The Rider lives in a small and basic apartment with his wife, Elena (Anamaria Marinca), teenage daughter Miri and a newborn baby. To lend an extra hand Elena works as a housecleaner. Things are economically difficult for the family but they are surviving.
It a fatal blow on the rider when he loses his ride. On an unfortunate night, someone steals the bike. Without letting his family know, he tries to search for the bike and later learns from his landlord that if he loses his bike or the job, then he is going to throw the family out in the cold, without putting a second thought to it. Increasing the stake, finding the bike becomes a life and death scenario for The Rider.
‘The Bike Thief’ Ending Explained
Ganging up with street thugs, The Rider attempts to steal another delivery bike, but his courage fails when the owner of the bike thrashes him. Losing all hope, The Rider moves around the streets of London wearing a helmet when suddenly an opportunity strikes.
Much like Ladri di biciclette, The Rider finds an unattended bike near a doorway. He impulsively jumps on it when the original rider of the bike comes running to stop the theft. Coincidentally, both the riders are wearing the same color helmet. Few passers-by grab the original owner of the bike while the protagonist of the story runs away with the bike.
The film runs like an extended event without any closure. Much of the conflict is created in the end. The bike he stole did belong to him like in the original Italian film, Bicycle Thieves. But The Rider’s bike and the bike he stole had different number plates thus denying the theory. The makers of the film ended the film on a note that robs the audience of poetic justice. It abstains the protagonist from meeting the consequences of his actions. For this reason, The Bike Thief is an incomplete story.
Technically, the film is extremely well-shot and it does capture the desolation of immigrant life. The stake of losing his family or his survival isn’t much explored and thus it fails to build upon the premise. In short, The Bike Thief is nowhere near the film it tried to pay homage to.
The Bike Thief is totally unavoidable due to its inability to come to a concrete ending. Any indie filmmaker who wants to experience minimalist shooting and budget-friendly references for his film could watch it.
The Bike Thief is a 2021 drama film directed by Matt Chambers. The film isn’t available online.
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