24 March 2018 | Bezenby
You choose the genre
A man is shot in the head in his apartment in Rome and corrupt cop Franco Nero ends up trying to solve the murder. There's a list of suspects including fashion models and photographers, a torn photograph may hold the secret to the case, and the murderer starts killing people in order to cover their tracks. Nero's journey to the truth takes him through the garishly coloured twilight of Rome's counterculture. That's a giallo plot, right?
Let's try again, look at this plot:
A man is shot in the head and corrupt cop Franco Nero gets caught up in the case due to taking bribes to carry out tasks for the rich of Rome. Nero finds that there are limits to his own corruption as he gets caught up in a never ending cycle of blackmail and deceit while clashing with the local police and trying to get answers his own way, which means heavy handed violent confrontation and terrifying some of the suspects. Will he find redemption or will his own greed be his undoing? That's a polizio plot, right?
This film is both but concentrates nearly 100% on Nero's investigation, as he runs from suspect to suspect accusing them of murder amongst other things. The whole reason he ends up being drawn in is that the murdered man is connected to a couple that Nero is asked to break up by rich Adolfo Celi (underused here, but still great). Adolfo doesn't want his son getting mixed up with some English chick, and judging by what Nero uncovers, he's right, as everyone Nero meets is a free living drug fuelled hipster, this being nineteen sixty-nine and all.
Florinda Bolkan plays Adolfo Celi's second wife and stepmother to the son in question, and it turns out her own sister's death may be part of the mystery. There's a lot of dialogue in this one and very little action, so once again the actors carry the film, even if in the end things do become a bit dull. Until the ending, anyway.
Romolo Guerrieri does however try and keep things interesting by way of very quick edits and a really stylish world for the actors to dwell in, but those expecting high-octane action or cheesy giallo murders will be let down. Another good but not great one.