When a young couple and a peeper are killed in the field with sadism, Inspector Amaldi and his partner Freese unsuccessfully follow the leads trying to track the criminal. Meanwhile, the college student Giuditta is being stalked and goes to the precinct, where she is attended by Amaldi, and immediately they feel a great attraction for each other. When another woman is murdered, Amaldi and Freese realize that they are chasing a serial killer. Amaldi visits Professor Civita, trying to find the meaning of three leaves found in the crime scene. Amaldi, who battles with his violent temper, tries to put the clues together and to avoid the next murder of the unknown psychopath. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Considering how few genuine giallos are made these days, calling Eros Puglielli's Eyes of Crystal the best giallo in years sounds like damning with faint praise, especially since it was made in 2004. But even if the genre were still in full swing, this would be a top-notch effort, and it's a shame that Puglielli has been relegated to Italian TV and videogames and hasn't made a film since. It's a fairly classic mix of disturbed killer working to a perverse design of his own in this case a taxidermist assembling a doll out of the assorted body parts of his victims and cop with his own dark past and a penchant for kneecapping rapists on his trail trying to solve the puzzle before his girlfriend finds herself short a few body parts. Along the way we get many of the genre staples, from the repressive mother, flashbacks to childhood crimes and traumas, perverted fantasies, a friend who may be implicated in the murders, the academic who puts the hero on the right track, a woman being stalked who appeals to the hero's chivalrous side to a climax in the burned-out shell of an imposingly Gothic orphanage conveniently located on a clifftop. But if the mix is nothing new, it's put together remarkably well and even subverts the odd cliché (one character who has dead meat written all over him not only survives the film but is never once even placed in jeopardy!).
The film is stylish, but its style in service of the film rather than a director drawing attention to himself, and never at the expense of the story or the characters. It's also surprisingly well acted, with Luigi Lo Cascio's cop having more depth and intensity and Simon Andreu's hallucinating dying cop who may hold the key to the mystery a more human figure than usual in this kind of film. It doesn't reinvent the wheel or even offer that many surprises to those who know the genre, but if you're a fan of the genre it's quite a pleasure to see one that's been put together quite as well as this. True, the killings may lack the over-the-top panache of Argento in his prime, but this is certainly better than anything he's done in the last couple of decades and well worth a look.
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