Damiano Damiani remains one of the most difficult Italian directors to categorise. He is comfortable at the helm of commercial exploitation such as Amityville 2, but would be better remembered as the key political movie-maker of his generation, with a string of socially aware dramas that puts the better known cinema of Rosi and Gavras to shame.
Massacre Play (The Killing Game) is a rather unknown entry in the Damiani canon, but is well worth the investment of a couple of hours purely for the amazing performances of the two leads. Milian is quite magnificent and Elliott Gould shows just how good an actor he is:they play two friends, both film directors who have taken very different paths. Wordy, intelligent but never boring and with a few little surprises along the way.
If there is a complaint it is only a minor one, and that is the small insignificant part played by John Steiner. Steiner had previously delivered two key performances for Damiani, first in The Case is Closed
Forget it and then in Goodbye and Amen. Here he simply wanders
through the proceedings, but as said it is only a minor quibble.
Not in Damianis's top league but all in all, very worthwhile.
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