30 September 2007 | Coventry
No less than Quentin Tarantino referred to "Milano Calibro .9" as the absolute greatest Italian film-noir ever made, and who the hell are we to question that statement? This truly is one of the most grippingly fascinating and shockingly straightforward crime portraits ever filmed and I wouldn't hesitate for one second to call it a genuine masterpiece of cult cinema. "Milano Calibro .9" is the first installment of Ferando Di Leo's trilogy, followed by the equally mesmerizing "Manhunt" and "The Boss". The stories and characters of these films are unrelated, but together they represent the gifted director's personal and highly criticizing visions of organized crime in Italy during the early 70's. Perhaps even more remarkable than the excessive display of nihilistic violence in these movies, is Di Leo's devotion to point out the incompetence of Italy's government and law-system during that era. The country itself is to blame for all the powerful crime networks and the relentless mafia organizations it spawned, and the director will make damn sure this message is communicated clearly. But naturally, even without all the political involvement, "Milano Calibro .9" is a phenomenal film, with non-stop suspense, rough action, realistic character drawings and head-spinning dialogs. The intro alone is fantastic, as more action and brutal violence occurs in ten minutes than most Hollywood movies have to offer throughout the entire playtime. I hate to give away too much about the convoluted plot, but I can assure it contains all the necessary ingredients: treason, vengeance among criminals, strip bars, executions, corrupt coppers and the ongoing search for a stolen loot of $ 300.000! The atmosphere in this film is continuously gritty and ominous, because literally no one can be trusted and any character risks to get shot in the back at any given moment. Di Leo brilliantly uses Milan as the location for all the mayhem, and the city inexplicably plays one of the most important roles in the story, because it forms the home of the economic crisis, high level of delinquency and police forces reluctant to alter their methods of crime-fighting. The cast is awesome, with Gaston Moschin in an unconventional but masterful lead role. Mario Adorf impresses as the sardonic and relentless second-in-command and Barbara Bouchet takes every man's breath away with her sexy appearance and ravishing beauty. The sensual dance sequence she performs is only one of thousand reasons to watch "Milano Calibro .9", but it's undeniably the most convincing one.