In 2009, Rancho (Aamir Khan) from 3 Idiots said “kabil bano, kamyabi toh jhak maarke peeche bhagegi” [pursue excellence and success will follow].
Why am I bringing that up in my review of Rose Island? Because it’s about a crazy engineer who coincidentally also didn’t care to play by the rules.
Based on a true story, the film is about an Italian engineer Giorgio Rosa (Elio Germano) who built an island outside territorial waters in 1960s because … well, because he could!
Rose Island tells the story about Rosa who was misunderstood for his unconventional ideologies and his need to break the mold, which often landed him in trouble.
Frustrated with continuously being controlled by the system and even his loved ones, Rosa decides to build his own independent nation free of any restrictions or judgments.
He comes across an opportunity to do so on international waters outside Italy, off the Rimini coast and wastes no time to marry his engineering expertise and urge to be free.
What follows is an adventure of a lifetime and a place in history for a man who built an island in the middle of the ocean. A man who created an opportunity not only for himself but also for people like him who sought a place of peace, revolution, and lots of partying.
The issue arises when the Italian government discovers the rising popularity of the independent island and rushes to shut it down due to fear losing authority over their citizens.
Comes to think of it, the world isn’t much different in 2022 where we’re still debating privacy laws and increasing surveillance over our every move.
While some would describe Rosa as an anarchist, others would see him as a visionary. Rosa wasn’t trying to prove a point; he was simply taking control of his life and refused to let anyone dictate his freedom – whether it was freedom of his choice of residence or the car he drove. Isn’t that what we all want anyway, or at least strive for?
The difference is he quit preaching about it and just went in guns blazing, or should I say drills blazing in the sea and got himself a micro-nation.
Is it a cinematic masterpiece? Not really.
Is it a delightfully inspiring piece of history that’s relevant even in today’s political climate? ABSOLUTELY!
Rose Island is streaming on Netflix.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.