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The young, bright and decent London tramp Alan Terry accidentally witnesses a mob execution. He gets away, but leaves enough evidence for them to come looking for him among the homeless, and most violently: his older best friend is killed by arson. It turns out that Matheson, the police Detective Inspector in charge of the murder investigation, is in cahoot with the mob boss Adolfo Cavani, and actually on Alan's trace, with the firm intent to eliminate the dangerous witness. The only one who may actually help Alan is a female reporter... Written by
Inspired by the case of Roberto Calvi, "God's Banker", found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in 1982. Originally treated as suicide, an Italian inquiry has now established that Calvi was murdered. See more »
Enjoyable dramatisation of a real-life murder mystery
This enjoyable little thriller has an old-fashioned feel and is none the worse for that. Rupert Graves is surprisingly good as a Scouse drifter, sleeping rough near Tower Bridge, who witnesses a murder. Attempts to report the crime to the police go awry when he realises that the detective investigating the case is one of the killers.
The story is a lightly-fictionalised account of the P2 masonic lodge scandal that led to the fall of the Italian government in May 1981 after revelations of infiltration by members of the illegal masonic lodge. (P2 stands for Propaganda Due). Licio Gelli, the Master of the lodge, was a former fascist and CIA officer working in league with Roberto Calvi, the President of Banco Ambrosiano of Milan, who was already in prison accused of illicit export of capital.
One of Gelli's protégés was Michele Sindona, a banker connected with the Mafia, who had previously managed the funds of the Vatican and embezzled several billion lira. Sindona escaped to the US where he was apprehended and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for fraudulent bankruptcy. (An inspector who had been making inquiries about him was mysteriously killed.)
As for Calvi, he was found dangling from a noose beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London, his pockets and waistband stuffed with bricks. Ever since, questions have persisted about how he died. At first, a London coroner concluded it was suicide. However, his son and widow, who live in Montreal, have doggedly tried to prove that Roberto Calvi was killed.
As chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, he was an influential financier who was nicknamed "God's banker" because of his close ties to the Vatican. In June, 1982, a year after being convicted of massive currency violations in Italy and with his bank teetering on collapse, he vanished. A week later, he was found hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars Bridge, over the Thames. Banco Ambrosiano subsequently collapsed with enormous debts in a $1.3-billion (U.S.) bankruptcy.
This suspected murder forms the premise of Scott Michell's film. It is atmospherically photographed, largely at night (watch it with the lights out, or you won't be able to make out a thing) and benefits greatly from an excellent music score by the young British composer Mark Ayres, which recalls the work of John Barry at some points.
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