DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION (INDAGINE SU UN CITTADINO AL DI SOPRA DI OGNI SOSPETTO) (director/writer: Elio Petrie; screenwriter: Ugo Pirro; cinematographer: Luigi Kuveiller; editor: Ruggero Mastroianni; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: Gian Maria Volonté (The police Inspector), Florinda Bolkan (Augusta Terzi), Gianni Santuccio (The Police Commissioner), Orazio Orlando (Biglia), Sergio Tramonti (Antonio Pace), Salvo Randone (The Plumber), Massimo Foschi (Augusta's Husband), Aldo Rendine (Homicide Functionary), Arturo Dominici (Mangani); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Daniele Senatore; Sony Pictures; 1970-Italy-in Italian dubbed in English)

 
"Moderately engrossing parable, crime drama and character study, with rigid political undertones."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

It opens with arrogant chief of homicide police inspector (Gian Maria Volonté) slitting the throat of his sexy game-playing divorcee girlfriend Augusta Terzi's (Florinda Bolkan) while making love on a Sunday afternoon and then he purposely fills the crime scene with clues that will lead investigators to him, as he considers himself a citizen above suspicion. Just promoted to be the new chief of  political intelligence, the twisted successful cop knows he can get away with murder while left-wing Italian director Elio Petrie ("A Quiet Place in the Country"/"The Tenth Victim"/"The Assassin") is anxious to tell us power corrupts. Petrie began his career as a movie critic for the Communist daily L'Unità.

It's a moderately engrossing parable, crime drama and character study, with rigid political undertones. It shoots itself in the foot by being too much a sermon, one that bends over backwards to be unrealistic and therefore is hardly convincing. The crude antifascist pic is seen through the eyes of a power-hungry sexist fascist who acts bizarre in committing the murder and then confessing, in the belief he'll be acquitted anyway. The bad dude just wants to see how really powerful he is, if you can believe. The angry pic won the Oscar for best foreign-language film in 1971, but was not an enjoyable watch aside from the beautiful visuals and the forceful performance by Volonté. The pic has since more or less disappeared from public view. If it reminds one of a Kafka nightmarish story, that is confirmed as it concludes with a quote from Kafka's The Trial.

REVIEWED ON 3/3/2011       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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