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Angels of Evil (2010)
This is my review of the DVD/Blu, written for Flick Feast: Angels of Evil is the biographical true story of Italy's most notorious gangster and Milanese bank robber, Renato Vallanzasca.
The movie starts in 1981 in a maximum security prison, where Renato Vallanzasca (Kim Rossi Stuart) rules the roost. He strolls around his dirty prison cell in his pants and gets served a bowl of filthy looking rice with a cockroach crawling around in it. From scene one, we can tell this isn't going to be a pretty looking film. Whilst beating up prison guards, we hear his voice-over saying he 'never could stand bullies' and because of this, his first job was freeing circus animals from their cages.
He got into crime from an early age, stealing heaters and other electrical equipment to sell on. Because of his downright thuggery, he gets sent to a juvenile detention centre, where he eventually becomes the "boss of the Comasina", which is a district in Milan.
Bank robber Vallanzasca has a gang of not so merry men, including crackpot best friend Enzo, played by Filippo Timi. They seem to enjoy nothing more than to terrorise the poor folk of Milan, committing murders, robberies and kidnappings, while profits are spent on women and drugs.
They finally have it out with their rival Francis Turatello and Vallanzasca's team hold wealthy residents to ransom. As you can imagine, things get a little messy.
Kim Rossi Stuart has a lot of charm, mixed with a crazy brutality and a great face to slap on the front of a newspaper. There's a fantastic scene where Vallanzasca dresses as a business man and just strolls straight through into the bank's back room to help himself and it's only with this charm that he manages to go through with it.
There is a bit of a trend in Euro-crime dramas recently and if you want to see a better and grittier prison film, check out A Prophet.
Michele Placido is not a stranger to the crime/drama genre and we're left feeling that he could have made more from this. Angels of Evil could possibly have benefited from being a tad shorter and with six writers on the project, could it have been a case of too many pens spoil the screenplay? It's a decent film and worth a watch with its grimy story, charting the rise and fall of a well known gangster, but it's been done better before.
The disc is great, with special features including a making of featurette, an interview with Stuart and a few deleted and extended scenes thrown in there for good measure.