The storyline is strong and from the opening, with the murder of a business man, and introduction to a series of characters whom we do not see again until much later in the film; to the continually twisting storyline that will often catch you unaware – especially once the protagonists reach Paris, it keeps you interested. Most importantly for a film with complex motives, they all make sense in the end, and none of the plot twists seem gratuitous. Characterisation is good and one of the notable features of the script is the absence of black and white; completely good and bad characters. Milo Ruiz is a criminal, but is unwilling to kill, and ultimately prepared to help Cipriani track down his wife. Cipriani is more than willing to use violence to get his way, but is motivated entirely by concerns for his wife's safety and has no higher purpose. Later, the conspirators justify their actions such that they do not believe that what they are doing is wrong. This takes the plot away from the usual good versus evil and makes it a lot more thought-provoking. Although the film betrays its exploitation roots with several scenes of nudity and violence, these all fit in well with the plot and back up the strong characterisation, especially of the two leads. The pacing varies from fast to slow, and although some points of the film seem to drag, it mostly flows well - building to a very strong climax and conclusion.
Sollima consistently fills the frame with detail: filmed primarily in Paris, although with some locations in the Alps – every scene of this film looks good, from the grimy gaol cells to the abandoned industrial plants and the Parisian streets. Editing and camera-work is pretty standard and mostly remains in the background; a long way from the MTV-style editing with its distracting zooms, pans and rapid cuts that curse most modern films. The action scenes are shot well - the fist fights and gun fights look very gritty and real thanks to some good editing, and blood is kept to a realistic level – a long way from the explosive bullet impacts of Lucio Fulci's later genre entry Contraband (1980) and its kin. Ennio Morricone provides the music, and the name alone should tell you that we are in for a treat. From a strong piano main theme to sensitive love music, Morricone's score adds to the mood without distracting from what is on screen – surely the goal of any film score. The main theme will crop up again later in Morricone's soundtrack for The Untouchables (1987).
|Anyone famous in it?||Oliver Reed - star of Hammer's Curse of the Werewolf (1961), and recent blockbuster Gladiator (2000)
Fabio Testi - Star of violent Lucio Fulci films Four of the Apocalypse (1974) and Contraband (1980)
|Directed by anyone interesting?||Sergio Sollima - a strongly left wing director, responsible for Spaghetti Western Run, Man, Run (1968) and Crime Thriller Violent City (1970).|
|Any violence?||Several people get killed, and there are a few fist fight scenes. Blood is minimal and a realistic level.
|Any sex?||A few short topless scenes.
|Who is it for?
||Fans of euro-crime films, and euro-cinema in general
will want to check this one out. A good starting place for anyone new
to the sub-genre.
|Good soundtrack?||Ennio Morricone provides a very strong and varied score that enhances the film greatly.
|Visuals||Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour
The picture quality is good, some noticable grain throughout, and some minor print damage. Always Watchable.
|Audio||Original English mono - Dolby Digital - sounds great, no hiss.|
|Subtitles||None for film.
|Run Time||Main Feature: 1hr 49m 31s|
|Extras||The disc includes:
|Packing||Standard Amaray case|
|Region||Region 0 - NTSC
|Other regions?||Japanese R2 release, OAR non-anamorphic, Italian dub, no English options. No additional extras,|
|Cuts?||Believed to be fully uncut. Print used is English language, all credits are in English.