When Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson) has a price put on his head by Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura), he must take desperate steps to protect himself while in prison. An unsuccessful attempt ... See full summary »
This is a very hard film to review fairly in its currently available format--an English-dubbed videotape from Finland. La Violenza: Quinto Potere (titled The Sicilian Checkmate on the tape) is an extremely talky courtroom drama steeped in Italian politics of the period, and therefore is pretty hard going for an Anglophone audience unfamiliar (as am I) with the topic. Taking place almost entirely during a murder trial, the film details in significant detail the deep roots sunk by organised crime in the business and political life of Sicily. There are a few flashbacks which include what little 'action' the film includes, but the vast majority of the film is a lengthy indictment of mafia corruption.
IMDb indicates Sicilian Checkmate was shot in a 2.35:1 ratio, but the tape is in 1.66:1--not that it actually makes any difference, as the film basically takes place in a single room. Of some note is Ennio Morricone's atypically atonal and spare score, which adds a threatening quality to the proceedings. All in all, this is a tough film to like--but would seem to be a perfect candidate for DVD restoration by the good folks at No Shame. I'd also love to know if this film ever actually had a cinema release in English-speaking territories--and who authorised the expense of recording the English language dub!
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