A young bank worker Total (Flavio Bucci) witnesses a robbery, in which one of the thieves gets caught and beaten by an avaricious, rich butcher (Ugo Tognazzi). He can't come to terms with the fact that in spite of being always a righteous man, he has never managed to gather as much money as all other people including the above-mentioned man. He vows to prosecute him and drive him insane by stealing everything that belongs to him, along with his lover Anita (Daria Nicolodi).
In this third part of "the neurosis' trilogy", Petri tackles inequality in society, the issue of property and last but not least money itself. None of Petri's movies is straightforward and this one is no exception. While among Petri's works are more and less demanding ones, this one must be together with A Quiet Place In The Country (1968) and Todo Modo (1976) his weirdest creation. Therefore, there is nothing strange about the fact that the film wasn't acclaimed in its premiere. It's a bold, remarkably modern satire which is bound to leave you confused and make you think about it long after it's over. Apart from his usual collaboration with A-grade cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller (Argento's Deep Red, 1975), the director utilizes a really grotesque plot and a perfect illustration of this is our protagonist who is allergic to money. In addition to this, there is a frequent use of stagey scenes, therefore the ensemble looks everything but ordinary. A soundtrack is composed by Ennio Morricone. It is very "avant-garde" and owing to some creepy whispers included (Io ho I have, tu hai - you have, egli ha he has, essi hanno they have) already comments the events that are occurring on the screen.
The cast isn't too bad, unfortunately Flavio Bucci, who is surely a good actor, appears to be a bit inexperienced in comparison to Volonte for example, thus the film lacks a strong leading actor. Daria Nicolodi and Ugo Tognazzi give strong performances. One can spot Salvo Randone as well, who as always plays his role very well.
With this flick, Petri shows that human takes part in the rat race in order to become more powerful, socially accepted and approved, irrespective of all hidden necessary, immoral ways. The character of the butcher represents the rich and Petri points out that all those people who want to dominate, are unscrupulous and pitiless, as the poor who often are honest ones will never achieve better life conditions, since either they are limited by religious as well as state laws or on breaching overtly all those moral boundaries they are banished from the society. The only way to render their life acceptable is to obey the rules and submit to opulent people, who are protected on account of their wealth and power. Another interesting aspect of the movie is comparing a bank, which is heart of consumerism, to the church. To make this allusion even more visible, the bank is full of images depicting the Holy Trinity. Also, just like in the "Holy Church", in the rat race, which is called here a "religion of property", there is a certain hierarchy and blasphemies (when the clerk Total sets a banknote on fire, the director is disgusted and almost throws a tantrum).
However, it's more fascinating to analyze it than to behold it, as the plot seems to flow quite slowly, there isn't enough black humor to keep the climax amusing. The script with its full resonance overwhelms the viewer to the extension that one feels a bit tired and the twisted Marxism - Madrakism message appears to be slightly too radical. Nonetheless it does have plenty of splendid ideas, electrifying score of Morricone, erotically-tinged atmosphere, strong direction, and hence this is a good piece of political cinema. Although it isn't as marvelous as his previous films, it certainly encapsulates the political situation of those times in Italy perfectly.
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