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We first meet a prisoner named Vallanzasca in the 80s. He tells us about his childhood were early on he, his little brothers, sister, and friends started stealing things and selling them. One day he finds one of his brothers dead. In adulthood he and his team start robbing armored cars. But he's a peaceful criminal who avoids violence. They have guns just to intimidate people. Eventually he ends up in jail.
When he's out he he reunites with his gang. They club, do drugs, drink, women, etc. He eventually meets a girl with whom he has a son. At one club they run into the big crime boss in Milan, named Turatello. He happens to be with Vallanzasca's sister, whom he hasn't seen in years. So they reunite as well. They quickly start the business of robbing banks and start provoking Turatello by robbing his casino. But now Vallanzasca buddies start getting violent, they kill people against his wishes. They start kidnapping rich folk and other higher stake crimes.
They plan their most complex heist yet--robbing the tax office in downtown Milan. While Vallanzasca is inside the office impersonating some high officer his friends are spotted outside by cops and bullets start flying. There are victims on both sides and now the gang has to lay low. At a checkpoint Vallanzasca is shot in the butt and eventually caught. This leads to a longer stint in jail, the same jail where Turatello is now. And what starts with some tense moments between the two ends up in a great friendship with Turatello taking Vallanzasca under his wing. There are trials and lots of people turn against Vallanzasca. He's not reluctant to use violence anymore and through Turatello takes revenge on all those who flipped. He also gets married in jail as scores of women fall for him. He becomes a public figure, a media darling constantly taunting the police. But the cycle of violence catches up with him as Turatello isn't immune.
During a transfer Vallanzasca who's always promised he'll escape, actually manages to do so. His family offer support, he ends up giving a radio interview, but at this point he's subject of the largest manhunt in Italy.
Angel of Evil is unmistakably an Italian movie--it's loud as no one speaks but only screams. It's much more interested in these fast screaming litanies than in showing us some action. And it's more concerned with the several jail stints than with the actual crimes. An Italian version of Heat this is not unfortunately. Initially things are pretty confusing, scenes are short, characters aren't established, except for the lead. Once things calm down a bit, about an hour into the movie, you also start liking the movie a bit more.
The second major weaknesses of this film is that it tries so desperately hard to establish the lead as a charismatic brilliant criminal, angelic leader of thugs, ladies man, seducer of the entire nation, master manipulator of individuals and masses. Instead of looking like an Italian member of a gang they want him to be some American super individualistic cowboy. And thus they missed an opportunity to make a great action thriller crime drama centered on a group of interesting criminals. We learn nothing about his crew, we can't even tell them apart let alone learn their names. Some of this may have to do with the fact that the lead actor was also involved in the script. This movie could have been strong as a buddy/team crime saga.
Angel of Evil is two hours long but it does feel much longer. Based on real life events, this could have been an outstanding movie, but they really missed their chance here.
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