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Salvo (2013)

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Salvo is a body guard and hit man for a mafioso. After foiling an attack on his employer, Salvo hunts down the man who organised it and encounters the man's blind sister. She causes Salvo to question himself and his existence.

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Cast overview:
Enzo Puleo
Giuditta Perriera ...
Mimma Puleo
Redouane Behache ...


Salvo is a body guard and hit man for a mafioso. After foiling an attack on his employer, Salvo hunts down the man who organised it and encounters the man's blind sister. She causes Salvo to question himself and his existence.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

22 August 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Salvo - Magányos szerelmesek  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Dialogue challenged movie, neither a drama nor a love story. Well shot and acted. Intriguing plot only used halfway. Questions about motives driving the two main characters
10 October 2013 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Ghent (Belgium) film festival 2013, where it was selected for the Global Cinema section. The synopsis on the festival website left a lot to outguess, and confined itself to throwing names and mentioning the praises it received in Cannes and from professional reviewers. So I went in blank, not knowing what to expect.

The opening action scene sets out the daily life of our main character, Salvo, who is a professional hit man and seemingly does nothing else. We see him continuously alert and prepared for anything. When ambushed he chases one of the attackers against fraternally advice to let it go, with the express purpose to learn who is behind the attack. He finds out and immediately heads to his house.

That is where he meets Rita, our second main character, who is the blind sister of the man behind the ambush. In sharp contract with the previous action scenes, this in-house scene drags on much too long. We see Salvo and Rita both moving around in the same house. Rita plays music all day long, and hence does not hear him wandering around. Salvo on the other hand, silently waits for his target at first, and after killing him continues with exploring the house out of professional habit on the lookout for adversaries. Given many stairs and rooms, it takes some time before they notice each others presence. Salvo needs some time to grasp the notion that Rita is blind and poses no immediate danger. At the same time we witness through her eyes some light flashes when he touches her on the head, while reading between the lines giving us a hint that her blindness is about to be cured.

His underlying reasons not to kill her but to take her along, puzzle me and we are left unclear about it even after the closing titles. There were no sexual intentions that we are aware of. And having a woman to take care of, seems a stumbling block in his line of work. Salvo leaves Rita behind in a deserted building for several days without his real purpose becoming much clearer. She explores her confined quarters, at first by groping around as she was used to do when totally blind. At a later stage, we see that she made attempts to cover the windows with material lying around, while it (we assume) hurts her eyes that need time to adjust.

Back at home, Salvo seems restless and very unlike the focused man he usually is. The man and woman (a couple?) waiting on him, apparently his servants, are as confused as we are. Salvo arranges for food, drives to the place he imprisoned her, and wants Rita to eat it together, but she refuses at his first attempt. We clearly see that her earlier ways of moving around, gets more and more like someone really able to see, in no danger of stumbling over furniture and other objects around. Still unexplained is the sudden cure of her blindness, seemingly starting when Salvo touched her the first time.

In one of the final scenes his mafia boss arrives and demands that he kills Rita and returns for work. Salvo and Rita escape together, after a shootout, while she supports him because of a seriously looking shot wound. It cannot be construed as a spoiler that no happy end can come out of this situation.

All in all, it is neither the drama nor the love story that I anticipated when reading the synopsis on the festival website. All professional reviewers who saw this film in Cannes, applauded it without exception or reservations, but I don't get it. When leaving the theater I scored a 3 out of 5 (average) for the audience award. There is not much dialogue to admire, but apart from that it is perfectly acted. I have some doubts about Rita's facial expressions in the house where they originally met, which I felt as being exaggerated and overdoing it to make an impression on the audience. But I assume this to be natural for someone blind (I also assume it being based on expert advice), which behavior disappeared when her eyes started working. Finally, the narrative and particularly the direction in which the story is heading, is left unclear for us from beginning to end. I think this plot could have been used more effectively, given the ingredients available, but it is easy for me to say.

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