BANDITS IN MILAN took my breath away. I mean that literally. At one point I was so upset by this film that I gasped loudly. That's a first for me, and I've seen a lot of movies that were meant to inspire gasping.
Having seen the bulk of the poliziotteschi (Italian made cop/crime movies) and a horde of gangster films from every country, I feel confident in saying that this is among the elite of the crime films in cinema history. Anyone who has ever seen an Italian pulp thriller from the 60s or 70s knows that Tomas Milian is a staple in the sub-genre, and here he delivers one of his finest performances as a young, ambitious police commissioner who is looking to bust an evasive, high-profile criminal (Gian Maria Volonte, rarely better).
The style of the movie is something to behold. It veers wildly from classical narrative approach to documentary style verite, even going as far as to show the film crew that is following Milian's commissioner around Milan! Crazy, and highly unconventional. The photography is rich and impressive, and the moments of action and violence (particularly the now infamous heist/getaway sequence) are shocking, terrifying and visually inventive.
It's too bad that Paramount - the U.S. distributor for this movie - has yet to release BANDITS IN MILAN on any video format. As far as I know, it has yet to be released on any video format in the world. I recently learned that it was immensely popular upon theatrical release. So where is it??? I managed to get a crummy bootleg from an online seller, and although it's watchable it's still just a tease. Come on, Paramount! Enough with the Star Trek re-releases. Bring on the good stuff already!
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