Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Grindhouse Experience Chapter 5: Confessions Of A Police Captain (1971)

"I'm being accused by a man with an insane mother... Then I'll call you a faggot!" While this is one of the more ridiculous (and entertaining) lines I've ever heard in a movie this film is actually far more serious in tone than that line would ever have you believe. Part 5 of the Grindhouse Experience is one of the titles I was least excited about seeing when I scanned the list. Confessions Of A Police Captain just didn't have the so-bad-its-good ring to it that some of the others in the set did. What a pleasant surprise it was to see some familiar names both in front of and behind the camera during the opening credits.

Director Damiano Damiani is perhaps known best for A Bullet For The General, a high quality spaghetti western. He also directed the 2nd film in the Amityville Horror series. Here he lends his talents to Confessions Of A Police Captain, a good cop-bad cop drama. Franco Nero (Django, Die Hard 2) stars as Traini, a District Attorney who is investigating the mafia. The plot gets rolling when a man named D'Ambrosio has an attempt on his life. It is quickly revealed that D'Ambrosio is a higher up within the mafia. Traini and Commissioner Bonavia (Martin Balsam) are our central characters who seem like opposites at first glance but digging a bit deeper could lead you to believe they are more alike than you'd think.

Damiani creates a corrupt and morally questionable political world with more than a couple layers to it. Each character has hero and villain moments and they're believable, which is a credit to the outstanding performances from Balsam and Nero. Riz Ortolani adds his drama building score at the right moments to keep us on the edge of our seat. And by the end we are still left questioning just exactly who's who. Damiani strays from the tendencies most Italian crime movies have, giving us a well paced, straight forward film that even while lacking on the uberviolence still keeps us engaged.

I set out with low expectations for this one, and came away with a solid movie.


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