This film has so much going for it: 1) Columbo style over the top murder scene and flashbacks 2) Gian Maria Volonte (Ramon from fistful of dollars) playing hot headed shouty cop very well 3) Oppressive fascist political setting 4) Kick ass Ennio Morricone Definitely worth your time
Sometimes I don't have the words to describe my love of a movie, and sometimes I feel that I don't need them. It's the latter case with this film, a slick, brilliant, Italian police drama/thriller from 1970 that I am sure many other people have seen before now. But if you've somehow avoided it for as long as I did, make up for that ASAP.
An energetic imaginative construction which episodically draws on elements of the 1960s caper movie, the glamour lifestyle of the Bond genre, the police drama, the satire of institutional cruelty (“if...”), and the psychological drama, setting them against the background of Italy’s ongoing “Hot Autumn” contestation, and pulling them into a declamatory critique of authoritarianism.
"Eh, si, siamo in America!". No, per fortuna no. Siamo in quell'Italia del Cinema bello, fatto di sceneggiature ricche, regie preziose ed attori che riempiono lo schermo. Una magnifica analisi del Potere, che nel tempo corrode e corrompe la persona, sia di chi lo possiede, sia di chi ne soffre l'ira o ne subisce il fascino, tant'è che giunge a ferire anche l'arrogante baldanza del Dottore. Autentico capolavoro.
Absurdity folded in on absurdity, a psychological thriller which plays out one step removed from a crime drama. There was so much to enjoy and take-away from this film, from Morricone's one-note one-tune repeated ad nauseum, to Volontone's masterful turn as the fragile mastermind who thinks he's above it all. Sorrentino did not emerge in a vacuum, makes me hungry to see what else he's drawn on.*
Bold absurdist exploration of fascism and power relations. Even just a few years ago one might have distanced oneself from it as a period piece that captured a particular time and place. It's alarming to consider how its treatment of themes around the perversity of institutional corruption are as pertinent as ever. Like another commenter, I keep on thinking of the links between this film and American Psycho.
We don't know a protagonist's name. Is he an everyman then? Probably, every-powerful-man. But the man is also an allegory of a corrupted state descending into schizophrenic need to be obnoxious about the power it's in charge of but at the same time to avoid the disgrace of the system within it works. Petri made a universal tale about downfall that power (political or psychological) must always lead to.