Every shot of "Salvo" is beautifully composed: the warm glow of the interiors contrasting with the brilliant, hard-edged light of the outdoors (perhaps an echo of the protagonist's own duality). In this near-wordless picture it is the faces (and especially the eyes) of the two leads that draw the camera, and both actors do superb work. An impressive, intelligently-made film.
Not simply just another "hit man grapples with redemption" story, this minimalist rendition of what one would assume to be a clichéd series of action set pieces is carefully rewound and reenacted successfully by the protagonist-duo's understated performances. Reminiscent of Bresson's 'Pickpocket' with it's Dostoyevskian undertones, the two characters' interior lives gradually begin to mirror one another.
It's certainly pretty: all heavy colours and deep shadows. But after a promising start, the film falls apart. Everyone's clearly committed but Serraiocco's performance is as fetishistic as the camera that follows her. Bakri is soulful and tough. The problem is, it can't overcome its machismo world-view. No matter how seriously we're supposed to take the plot and character development, I simply couldn't.
It's bad enough that this film doesn't exactly have an original concept, but it's so sloppily executed on top of that. The filmmakers not only soullessly go through the motions of a "hit man-goes-good" story, but it's a slow and confusing experience as well. Saleh Bakri is a stone-faced leading man, and I found Sara Serraiocco's performance grating and unconvincing. "The Killer," it is not!
It opens very much like your traditional Mafia film, but then does something very different. It's the first time I've seen blindness portrayed accurately. I like Salvo because he's the kind of dude where you don't have to keep giving him orders. He follows through. He's a bit of a cipher at first, but gradually builds his character up. Great acting and surprises too.
FNC '13 In Palermo a killer for the local chapter of the Mafia takes out an enemy but can't force himself to kill the man's blind sister and hides her away knowing the end result cannot be positive. He discovers his own empathy and his humanity in the sacrifice that follows. Such an amazing use of sound and silence despite its genre trappings resulting in a powerful work capped by two great lead performances.