18 August 2007 | Artemis-9
Defending my vote of 9
Someone wrote before that La Piovra 10 is full of clichés, and I must admit that some situations and complex family relationships tend to repeat each others through the series, even in the two prequel series (8 and 9, that should be seen before the others, actually). But if you seat back and think, what was the real history of Sicily since the Allied invasion in 1945, but the substitution of underground alliances of local mafia, and new power lords? That pattern kept repeating itself, only technology changed - and that is clear contrasted between Series 8 (the Fifties), 9 (the Sixties), 1 to 7 (the Seventees and Eighties), and 10 (the Ninetees). In the earlier episodes, you listened behind closed doors to learn secrets, than you started breaking computer codes, and in the end you have characters talking to each other through second generation mobile phones - though the most terrible secrets amassed through decades are still kept in now old-fashioned floppy disks. The methods of killing changed a little, from the flick-knife or the razor-blade to the untraceable drugs that kill slowly, but efficiently, passing through the (American introduced) machine-guns (the 1960s) and time-bombs (the 1970s).
This 10th and last series had a problem; how to surprise an avid public, and how to put an end to what we know, in real life has not ended, and does not seem to. The surprise was the volcano mouth, able to devour all the secrets of the world, including those of corrupt company chairmen, local authorities, regional and national politicians, policemen and magistrates. That may be a bit far-fetched, but cinematographically it works very well, with brilliant choice of camera angles, and enough close-ups of action to document which is certainly one of the rarest ends of a thriller.
Before that, this series is absolutely full of little nothings, like a glancing view over little ships made of paper cuts, that are absolutely essential to understand the change of mind of Dottore Cariddi, now the top man in a crime ring that became larger and larger, starting with a little smuggling and extortion racket in Sicily, growing through drug trafficking, money laundering, arms deals, company take-overs, and ending in the control of governments by underground organizations that pervade all national and religious institutions... That Dottori Cariddi is the same person called Tano, that we came to know as a silent, mistreated teenager, that wanted «to be someone» and who never overcame the trauma of the violence he saw committed against his mother, first, and his half-witted sister Maria after, is the key to understanding his behavior in this concluding chapters.
If you missed the previous installments of this Series 10, you can not fully appreciate Remo Girone's outstanding performance here; you will lack basis to interpret the multiple signs that the director and the property master provide lavishly to take our minds back to very much meaningful moments of the series.
So, if you liked a little this series 10, you know that you must find the other series in DVD and buy or rent them. Try your best to get an Italian spoken version - there are others, but the importance of the original sounds, and voices, is great. I know, because I have the chance of having seen an original subtitled version.
If the supporting actors in this series were half as good as in the earlier series, this would have been a 10 star for me. Unfortunately, they were not up to the task of equaling Remo Girone and Patricia Millardet. Elena Arvigo composes her character well, passing convincingly from the bride in love to the suspicious intelligent girl, and then to the courageous unbroken victim; a few images of her facial expression in captivity show very good acting. Radamonte's downfall and decay come too fast (because of production needs), and therefore Rolf Hoppe's composition is not so convincing; yet, for a flick of a second, when he sees the hidden gesture of his pupil, the very child he brought up from nothing, putting venom in his glass, his face of silent acceptance of death and loss of friendship is magnificent.
OK. I'll leave you with those hints at that perhaps I should have given it a 9 and a half star. Please see it, and judge me. Then give me the same the courts gave to all the criminals brought to justice by a handful of memorable policemen, starting with Michele Placido as Corrado Catani.