I'm not a big fan of the Italian Neo-Realist films, so my expectations were quite low when I started La Terra Trema. I will say that the first hour or so was a very pleasant surprise, mostly because of its doc-like nature. Not that it was great, but it was certainly a lot better than I had expected.
Visconti points his camera on a small Sicilian village, where the poor people spend their time fishing. They are exploited by the wholesale sellers, so the young boys in the village come up with a plan to buy their own boat, trying to go independent. That's a lot easier said than done.
The grim black and white cinematography doesn't do justice to the beauty of Sicily, but it does fit the bleak nature of the film. The first half is by far the best I've seen in the niche, the length does become quite problematic though, and I lost interest during the second half, also because the drama became more prominent. A shame, as the potential was there to be better.