One of the first films about the mafia occurrence, in which the fight is hopeless, because "the polyp's feeler" reaches everything and everybody. A police inspector and a deputy public ... See full summary »
One of the first films about the mafia occurrence, in which the fight is hopeless, because "the polyp's feeler" reaches everything and everybody. A police inspector and a deputy public prosecutor try to prove that the architect in the city is in the mafia. Written by
Kornel Osvart <email@example.com>
Tense, Intelligent and Hugely Compelling Mafia Film by Damiano Damiani
Best known for his mafia films as well as the sublime Western "A Bullet for the General" (1968), Damiano Damiani doubtlessly ranks among the great directors from the golden era of Italian genre-cinema. And "Confessione Di Un Commissario Di Polizia Al Procuratore Della Republica" aka. "Confession of a Police Comissioner to the District Attorney" of 1971 is doubtlessly one of the man's most remarkable achievements. Unlike the work of other greats of Italian crime/police cinema, such as Fernando Di Leo and Umberto Lenzi, Damiani's mafia films do not so much rely on stylized action and gritty violence, but try to explore the structures of the mafia and the corruption of legal authorities. This gem does so in a most brilliant manner.
Every cult-cinema fan's favorite actor Franco Nero plays a young and idealistic prosecutor who is as determined in his will to fight crime and corruption as his firm belief in the law and justice system is unbreakable. When he comes to crime-stronghold Palermo he encounters the aging Police Detective Comissario Buonavia (Martin Balsam), a cop whose ideals and beliefs go beyond his obedience to the law... The film has many qualities, one of the most obvious ones being the acting. Both leading men are nothing short of brilliance in their roles. Franco Nero is magnificent as ever in the role of the devoted man of the law, and Martin Balsam truly shines as the equally idealistic, rough-and-ready cop. Both men seem to be strict followers of their ideals, doing what they believe is right. Yet, there is a mutual distrust between them. The great late Luciano Catenacci is sublime in the role of the slick Mafia Don. Catenacci, one of the greatest regulars in Italian cult-cinema blessed many great films with his presence, including Mario Bava's Gothic masterpiece "Operazione Paura" ("Kill Baby... Kill!", 1966), Umberto Lenzi's hard-boiled Poliziottesco "Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare" ("Almost Human", 1974), and this great film. Sadly, this great actor, who mostly played criminals, passed away far too young in 1990. Lovers of Italian cinema will always remember him for his great performances in mostly dubious or thuggish roles. Character actor Claudio Gora gives another memorable performance as the district attorney general.
"Confessione Di Un Commissario..." is a film with a great story, and the tense plot is perfectly executed. As most of Damiani's films, "Confessione..." is a very political film that uncompromisingly depicts power-structures, corruption and the influence of organized crime on politicians and institutions. But primarily, it is a very suspenseful and highly intense cinematic experience. The tension is underlined by a great visual style and insanely brilliant score by maestro Riz Ortolani. Among fans of Italian crime cinema, some prefer the testosterone-driven excitement of the work of Umberto Lenzi or Enzo Castellari while others love the more intellectual thrills of Damiano Damiani's gems. Personally, I can only say that I'm a huge fan of both. "Confessions of a Police Comissioner..." is a film that should appeal to fans of gritty cult cinema and lovers of subtle suspense alike, and, personally, I could not come up with a single negative aspect about this film, which enjoys a more than justified cult-status. A masterpiece. For fans of Italian genre-cinema, missing it would be a crime.
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