15 January 2010 | rowmorg
An outstanding masterpiece of political cinema
I don't recollect giving many 10s. This film has to get the gong: it has it all, great acting, great scenario, brilliant direction, it's one of those films that feels like a slice of life rather than a drama. It could have been made yesterday, although not in the USA, I hasten to add, which is a shame because it really describes the post-WW2 dispensation imposed on Italy by the USA, with the aid of the Comorra, the criminal tribal system of greater Naples. The quintessential American figure, the property developer, played by US icon Rod Steiger, stands at the centre of this maelstrom of a movie, denounced daily on all fronts by the leader of the Left forces, De Vita (Carlo Fermariello), and catered to by the assortment of running dogs and capos on the Right. This movie performs nothing less than open-heart surgery on a great city at a turning point in its history: the eloquence, the in-fighting, the soul-searching. It also contains some great film-making, particularly the initial fatal building collapse that triggers the narrative. This film gets to the heart of what went wrong with the modern city, and it has attained the status of universality. In my opinion, every American high-school student should be obliged to view it in order to graduate from High school.