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Marcel Bozzuffi investigates Bud Cort in matters of theft and drugs
This tale focuses on a young man named Massimmo (Bud Cort) and his circle of college friends who are anti-fascist leftists and rebellious against their well-to-do parents, shown as superficial, not concerned about the downtrodden and focused on their own petty pleasures.
One of Massimmo's friends is an effeminate lad of close to 20, whose mother and maid bathe him. Strange, but it's meant to show the perverse side of the upper middle class or nouveau riche who also have bridge parties. This fellow is throwing a big party in order to somehow achieve a degree of maturity. The youth are shown as reflecting in their own ways their parents, even though they act rebellious and demonstrate on the streets. Their pleasures include food, sex, drugs, rebelling against professors and hanging out.
The young man commissions Massimmo to get him drugs, and that leads into some exploration of the drug world through a scene with several addicts he knows, who are desperate for drugs.
Massimmo is no prince. He steals a valuable antique from the father of his girl friend. He comes across as a hanger-on who is getting by with occasional drug deals and thefts, while taking advantage of his wealthier friends.
Marcel Bozzuffi is investigating the theft and soon fastens on Massimmo. He knows that it was an inside job done by someone partying that day at Massimmo's girl friend's home. Bozzuffi is really after the drug dealers, especially the big guy from Sicily. The latter establishes a loose relationship with Massimmo when he sees him not spill anything to the cops.
In the middle of this story comes about a 10-minute hallucinatory trip at the drug party. In here are all sorts of somewhat psychedelic-sexual imaginings including the young man making love to his mother. The party ends in tragedy, providing another anti-drug message.
The version I watched ran 90 minutes, a good enough widescreen copy with decent English subtitles. The official time is longer, 94 minutes. It could be even longer. There are one or two plot absences, from what I can tell. In fact, the editing of the picture is quite jarring and abrupt in several places.
The picture looks like something of a hurried effort. I am not sure what its message was meant to be. It comes across mainly as an anti-drug message, but it's not done that convincingly. Both Cort and Bozzuffi looked bemused at times, not knowing quite how they were expected to play a scene. Cort's character was not likable or sympathetic. No one in the film really was.
It's a bit of a strange film. It's classifiable as a poliziottescho, being an Italo-crime story of the 70s. It's certainly not the typical such film, but then why should it be? The interest in a genre is how the stories build new stories and relations, shed new light on the human condition, while working within a genre that brings a certain level of comfort and familiarity to the audience.
All in all, I found it amusing to watch but somewhat below par for its genre.
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