google play
app store
settings icon
profile icon

Home»Critics Review»

Critics Review
Luzzu review: Alex Camilleri’s local family drama scores with non-professional actors

Starring Jesmark Scicluna and Michela Farrugia, the story revolves around a fisherman who has to try and earn more to save his child

Akshay Krishna
Nov 22, 2021
cover image


Jesmark, a local fisherman in a small town is pushed into the black market trade and sells his ancestral fishing boat after he is forced to earn more to save his ailing child.


Sometimes the most subtle storytelling can be an effective way to showcase a story of a good man with ideals, turning into a life of crime. This is exactly what Alex Camilleri’s family drama does. 

The story starts with Jesmark, an honest and caring fisherman on his Luzzu, a small traditional fishing boat from the Maltese islands, as he tries to find his winning catch. While he does not find instant success, the movie dives straight into the catch. 

Jesmarks family is hit by a disaster as he and his wife, Denise, find out that their baby has a growth deficiency. While the parents are asked to take the child to a dietitian and a speech therapist, you feel for the parents and you know the movie is going to get rough ahead. 

While his family life hits a hurdle, the protagonist also has to deal with his ancestral Luzzu, which has hit a few dents of its own, with water leaking in. While a leaking boat is a disaster waiting to happen, Jesmark understands the same fate is waiting for his family if his child is taken away from them. 

We are soon introduced to Denise’s rich mother, who does not have a liking for the hard-working fisherman husband. As Denise goes to stay with her mother, who has rich doctors and medicines for the child, Desmark is not more than desperate to find the money to take his family back. 

As Desmark finds a way to sell more fish for more money, he is slowly drawn into the black market fishing trade, which includes catching, selling and even smuggling seasonal fishes, whose sale is illegal at closed seasons. 

While the story of an honest man dropping into the world of the unlawful is often told, Luzzu has nothing out of the ordinary. The filmmaker has a great understanding of the trade, traditions and techniques of the fishermen community in the Maltese Island and also does not forget to introduce us to several other characters, who are all drawn into the fishing net of life itself. From an illegal worker who was first hard and brutal is later explained to be a family man with his conservations to a corrupt officer, the movie has its list of interesting characters. 

The acting is stellar from all the cast, who pull off a nuanced performance, seamlessly making the audience believe everything that they do on screen. Because the cast was all non-professional actors, this is a feat that has to be highly commendable. 

While the moving transitions from scenes and the brilliant sound design are a nod at the great technical work the movie beholds, the transition of Jesmark from a man who leaves a baby fish back to the sea during a hard season to a man who sells his famed ancestral Luzzu for money for a freezer truck offers an insight into the character laid out by writer-director Camilleri.

At the end of the day, Luzzu is a movie that will not grab your attention with big colours or flashy storytelling but has a rich catalogue of characters from a small fishing community that weaves the story together, all the while making us care and shed love for Jesmark and his family. 


Luzzu is a movie that will capture your attention, but not by flashy storytelling or by its grand stage, but with the character involved, their stories and the understanding that life is only a hiccup away from taking a turn that will change you forever. 

Partner sites:
Hindustan Times · Live Hindustan · Live Mint
Desimartini · Shine · Healthshots · Slurrp
Copyright @ 2021 OTTplay, Hindustan Media Ventures Limited