Genre: Drama/ Suspense
Director: Damiano Damiani
TRASH CINEMA RECOMMENDED MOVIE
Giacomo Solaris (Franco Nero), a civic minded filmmaker, creates a film that is a thinly veiled expose of Judge Traini (Marco Guglielmi) who he considers to be crooked. To Solaris’ horror, life imitates art as the third act of his script becomes reality.
Immediately, politicians, the mafia and the press start jockying for position in the power vacuum that has been left. Selimi (Elio Zamuto) a politician who was under investigation in a banking scandal that also involved mafioso Bellolampo (Sergio Valentini), stands to lose the most if the mob is implicated in the killing of a high level official. Selimi pressures the victim’s widow (Françoise Fabian) to accuse Tano Barra (Tano Cimarosa), a lowly parking attendant, of the crime. The press wants to push their agenda against official corruption and the mafia.
Feeling somehow responsible for the turn of events, Solaris won’t stop until he uncovers the truth. Was Solaris right about Traini being crooked? Was the mob involved in the killing of the high ranking official? Was it one of the politicians that stood to gain from the the killing? Or was there a personal motive involved?
Let’s get one thing straight. How To Kill A Judge is not a Poliziotteschi flick. Most of the violence takes place off camera and there are no car chases or fist fights.
How To Kill A Judge is really about opportunism, how people don’t really care about the truth for the most part, that they really just want to use the circumstances to advance themselves and their causes. To this end, the filmmakers utilize a literate script by writer/director Damiano Damiani and screenwriter Enrico Ribulsi.
Director Damiano Damiani also encourages naturalistic performances from his actors. I have to say, I was very impressed with Franco Nero. He normally plays one-dimensional, studly characters, and he’s boring as hell, if improbably handsome. Here, he registers as a real human being, and engenders a ton of sympathy. It’s a terrific performance.
I also enjoyed Marco Guglielmi as the judge. He’s charming, articulate, reasonable, and has a sense of humor, not at all the way you would expect a corrupt judge to be.
There are also a number of excellent character turns by such actors as Giancarlo Badessi, Luciano Catenacci, Mico Cundari, and Claudio Nicastro. There isn’t a bad performance in the whole film, which is a credit to director Damiano Damiani.
If there’s a flaw to How To Kill A Judge, it’s that the solution doesn’t seem to be worth the build up. Of course, that’s the whole point of the film, but in a way, it seems to be a case of the sort of opportunism writer/director Damiano Damiani is condemning. He draws in the audience with a promise of thrills and excitement, and in the end, his film turns out to be an elaborate lecture.
I didn’t mind too much because it was so well done, but How To Kill A Judge didn’t blow me away, either. See it when you’re tired of oversimplified Italian Dirty Harry clones.
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