An insignificant bank clerk is about to spend New Year’s Day alone when he suddenly realizes with terror his ressemblance to a notorious criminal whom the newspapers call the “Ogre of Athens”. Because of this misunderstanding, when the police start chasing him he finds refuge in a cabaret and gets acquainted with a gang of criminals who think he is the Ogre and suggest he takes part in a robbery. A cabaret dancer shows interest in him and, driven by his desire to escape his gloomy life and finally become “somebody” he gets entangled in a web of unforeseen events. But the truth will come out and he will come to a sad end . —TFF
Nikos Koundouros (Greek: Νίκος Κούνδουρος), is a Greek film director, born in Agios Nikolaos, Crete in 1926.
He studied painting and sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts, and was later exiled because of his political beliefs to the Makronissos island. At the age of 28 he decided to follow a career in cinematography. He started his career as a director of the film Magiki Polis (1954), where he combined his neorealism influences with his own artistic viewpoint. He cast Thanasis Veggos, who he had met at Makronissos, as one of the characters in Magiki Polis. After the release of his complex and innovative film O Drakos, he found acceptance as a prominent artist in Greece and Europe, and acquired important awards in various international and Greek film festivals. His 1963 film Young Aphrodites won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival. —Wikipedia
There are a lot of elements of Fritz Lang here, but also elements of Italian neorealism. Dinos Iliopoulos gives a great performance as the lonely banker Thomas who is both the quintessential desperate noir protagonist and something different altogether. I really wanted to be wowed by this one, but I walked away from it only just liking it. The story itself is nothing to write home about, and while Koundouros has some brilliant directorial flourishes, I can't help but feel that he was restraining himself here. There are moments of abstract wonder that I wanted more of. It seems like he allowed his imagination more free reign in his later works, and I'm really excited to explore more of his stuff, but this one didn't do as much for me as I'd like it to have.
This film has a tremendous sense of unsettling humor under the dark and gloomy surface. Dinos Iliopoulos is iconic as one of the most unlikely noir hero in film history.