A lone policeman investigates the murders of prominent legal figures. As he stumbles on a conspiracy of national dimensions, the mystery thriller expands into an exploration of the mysteries of political power.
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**1/2. Political and mystery thriller with French, Spanish, Italian and Swedish stars. Over forty years old characters are met in catacombs, churches, museums or seedy old apartments while young people are shouting or protesting in public. Middle-aged police inspector Lino Ventura observes with curiosity the Italian society of the early 70's. I admit that I'm not as curious as he is. This film is soporific. Too bad.
Rosi is asking us one thing: to consider the - not-so-fictional - historical period as the main subject. It is not a thriller. The point is not who is the killer, nor why he kills. It is about the tense political climate in Italy in the 70s. Under this light, it is a marvel what he accomplished. He dives deep into Italian politics and power balances, questioning truth, order, law. Essential.
[More like 3.5] The topic is deeply interesting - and there are tons of good movie-adaptation of politically-themed Sciascia novels - but not enough entartaining: the storytelling is a bit slow and inconsistent - at least to me. It still is a good movie, but not mesmerising.
The best work of Francesco Rosi. One of the most thought provoking political thrillers that is even better than Costa-Gavras' "Z." There is a killing sequence (of the von Sydow character) where Rosi has evidently been influenced by Visconti's "Conversation piece" (74) opening credit sequence (death of the Lancaster character). And a superb male cast to boot.
Superbe méditation sur le pouvoir, pour un solide chef-d'oeuvre du cinéma politique transalpin, avec un Lino Ventura sublime dans cette oeuvre étonnante, à rapprocher par sa thématique et sa puissance d'un autre film "coup de poing", celui du confrère Damiani Damiano, intitulé : "Un juge en danger" ... www.cinefiches.com
It's almost impressive that a film that should tell us of a serial assassinations case should also feature such an apparent lack of rhythm, The (non) solution to the enigma seems to be that any number of murders of a certain kind will happen inexorably forever and ever. Too boring (you may find it) but at least I admired Rosi took care to deliver in a 'refined confection'