High Crime Film Details
Overview: An Italian police inspector matches wits with a powerful European drug ring. As he comes closer to the top of the underworld organization, his odds of survival decrease.
Review: This was my introduction to Poliziotteschi films, and also my introduction to Enzo G Castellari, who in my opinion may be the greatest Italian director of the 70s and 80s. I can’t get enough of this guy’s films! In fact, when I started watching this, a large beam of light focused on me and a voice said “Spend cash on all my movies, chosen one.” This was a rubbish video transfer copy of High Crime that I picked up for a quid, but even the washed out look and occasional flicker couldn’t detract from the greatness of this movie. It’s proof that beyond zombie flicks and slasher movies, there’s a whole world of groovy Italian films out there. A mysterious man is taken from Marsielles to Genoa, and before he can go about his business, he’s on the run from the cops, led by Comissioner Belli (Nero). The chase soon switches from foot to car, with some really dangerous looking stunts going on. There’s one shot where the cars are heading straight for the cameraman, then abruptly cuts away. Hope the guy survived. If not, then he died contributing towards a good cause. Who knows in these films. Belli gets his man, but before he can question him a car bomb kills the guy, three cops, and a little girl. As this is an Italian movie, we get to see a burning carcass flying out of the car window when it blows up. The film has hardly started. It seems that there’s a new crime family trying to muscle in on things in Genoa, and Belli wants to get straight to the top and arrest Mister Big. Belli’s boss, played by James Whitmore, knows who these guys are but due to their political connections is reluctant to do anything about it. Belli ends up getting help from an unlikely source: an ailing mafia boss who’s own men are starting to switch sides, a man who also seems to be obsessed with using metaphors and analogies littered with animal/insect/eating imagery. He’s cool though, and his sidekick was alright too. The problems facing Belli and numerous: who is the real Mister Big? Who can he trust? Every time he thinks he’s got to the top, the suspect is murdered. Worse still, the deeper he gets the more his loved ones are put at risk. Does he risk all or heed the repeated warnings to back off? This being an Italian film, do you think anyone at all will be alive at the end of the film? There’s hardly a minute wasted in High Crime. A constantly shifting storyline that flys through its running time, switching scenes at an alarming rate, and only slightly getting confusing once all the characters are introduced. By that point, however, people start getting bumped off as characters double cross each other and try to shift suspicion onto others. This is done usually in slow motion, with a kind of standard squib-or-no-squib-at-all technique that is also prevalent in Italian war movies. Aside from the funky soundtrack, there are two main factors that make this film a classic: Castellari and Nero. The direction is flawlessly high energy: even dialogue scenes are infused with nervous hyperactivity. There’s good use of slow motion, especially when main characters are assassinated, plus plenty of bizarre camera angles, shaky cam, and some shots that reminded me of spaghetti westerns. Everyone is kind of sleazy, and you can’t help applaud when a guy with a slight squint sniffs some smack, turns to the camera and mutters ‘pure snow’. He doesn’t shy away from the violence either. One character is killed by meathooks, another has his head run over by a bike, then gets castrated, a kid gets run over and dragged along the road, and in one stand-out scene, Massimo Vanni gets shot in the balls in slow motion! When Massimo Vanni turns up in a film he always does two things – a couple of stunts, and a mini massacre, then a (sometimes) gory death. He’s class. Watch for him in Street Law, Bronx Warriors, Big Racket, Bronx Warriors 2, Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (and 3!) and other films I’ve forgotten. I befriended a stray dog when staying in Sorrento last year, and someone had gone out their way to buy this dog a tag naming him Massimo. I knew there and then it was a tribute to Massimo Vanni. Franco Nero is the icing on the cake. The guy acts his socks off here. Belli does three things: chasing people, shouting and slapping people around. When he’s not doing one he’s doing another. He shouts at the bad guys, his colleagues, even his girlfriend. He slaps six different people around. The guy literally cannot sit still. His agitation at the ever elusive Mister Big comes out in flailing hands and stamping feet, gnashing of teeth and bursting into rooms. When the film calls for him to be more calm and emotional, he can do that too. Then he slaps more people around and kills them. This is a brilliant film, and it feels somehow epic even though it lasts just over 90 minutes. If they remade it today in Hollywood it would last 4 hours and be Shiite.
Country: Italy, Spain, France
Language: English, French, Italian
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Also known as: High Crime,Vazife uğruna,Conexão Marselha,Komisario Bellie,Crime de Alto Nível,To megalo eglima,La policía detiene, la ley juzga,Pik lik gam gong,La polizia incrimina la legge assolve,Le témoin à abattre,Kommissarie Bellie,Smrt policijskega komisarja,Biljagten,I katadioxi,The Marseilles Connection,Tote Zeugen singen nicht,Avrättningen,Alto Crimen,超犯罪 ハイクライム,Streets of Eternity,La police accuse, la loi acquitte,A Polícia Incrimina… A Lei Absolve,Strasse ins Jenseits,Полиция закон исполняет,Alto crimen: El gran asesinato,Shinigami no hone o shabure