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In 1864, mercenary Clyde MacKay leads a squad of hard-case cutthroats on a mission for the Confederate high command: infiltrate an enemy fortress and steal a million dollars in gold from the Union Army.
This was the first break-through success of a Poliziotti Italian crime movie and spawned several dozen imitations. Possibly the best film ever made, High Crime delivers the goods like few other movies, blending some experimental filming and editing techniques in with some good performances, solid action sequences, great music, and some pretty stunning photography by Alejandro Ulloa. Unlike a lot of other crime flicks made around the same period, this film isn't sympathetic at all to the villains. They are cold and heartless thugs who's so anything to keep themselves out of jail where they rightfully belong. This film is completely fascist and right-wing in its undertones, yet maintains an engaging level of emotional impact throughout. The scene where Franco Nero discovers his daughter dead made me almost want to cry... and Castellari expertly handles the flashbacks and knows just when to use slow motion in all the right spots.
This wasn't the film which set the trend in Italian crime films (see Violent Professionals) but it was an excellent film which caused their widespread (yet short-lived) popularity. Certain elements (like the getting-in-car-gun-down) were endlessly repeated in the genre by Castellari himself as well as his father Marino Girolami, who totally ripped off the ending of this film in ROMA VIOLENTA, a much more typical film in the genre with Maurizio Merli, who although is not as good an actor as Franco Nero, is much more intense as the leading man in these sorts of films.
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