English Title: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Original Title: Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Elio Petri
Gian Maria Volonté
This 1970s Italian political drama opens with a compelling murder live show, a dapper man, Volonté (the head of homicide squad) artfully kills his erotic mistress (Bolken) with a sharp blade, and what’s befuddling the viewers is after that, Volonté intentionally leaves many traces which could be implicated to him at the scene of the crime, all the more a face-to-face encounter with a witness when he leaves the building. Naturally, one has to divine his motivation of his deviant contrivances, but the film doesn’t opt to give a straightforward answer to the illogicality, instead it unwinds itself into a sociological tirade aiming at the blazon compliance of the ruling power echelon, Volonté has been promoted to a more authoritarian post, politics-oriented, and the cover-up process degrades the whole investigation into a farce, lushly recorded by the agile camera.
Arguably, this is Elio Petri’s most famous film, an Oscar’s BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM crowner, and won him 2 awards in CANNES that year, Petri may not occupy an international cachet so high as his Italian peers, but the film can potently justify his talent, it is an authentic gas, wonderfully designed camerawork with a great architectonic predilection, astute sense of unpicking the tacit phone-interception dirty business, a twitchy sensibility towards the rotten authorities, and upbraids an undeniable self-awareness of being politically-biased.
Volonté is tailor-made for the leading role, a typical male chauvinist, over-cocksure by appearance while underneath he is a man haunted by his impotence and jealousy (Bolken has mentioned a few times he is only a child which effectively irritates him), although ambiguous about the raison d’être of his act, Volonté is confident, menacing and impressive out of his common Spaghetti image. Bolken is billed as the co-lead, but mostly appears in flashback and the film has curtailed her character to a sexy trophy, a power-worshipper and a dispensable pawn whose stupidity overshadows her own demise, nevertheless she is a stunner in all her shots. The standout of the all-male supporting cast is Salvo Randone as an innocent plumber, who caves in poignantly in front of power, a bona-fide scene stealer.
Last but not the least is Ennio Morricone’s score, the repeated motif has a synthesized rhythm, catchy and indelible, throughout the film, it renders the film a touch of ridicule and never leave any chance for the audiences to be bored by the doctrinal tone the film unintentionally betrays.