Thursday, February 23, 2012

The police indict

Traditionally, I'm a guy who loves going to the movies by myself. I hear other people complain that they skipped

I can pick my movie without compromise, and I get the time before and after to consider my experience without being colored by what anyone else thinks.

So, when I got to Austin, Weird Wednesday was like a tremendous gift. They play the kinds of movies I like best, they're at midnight, they serve beer, but they also insist on a level of respect and quiet. Perfect.

It means a lot about how amazing things are in my life that with Kimberly Rae and Conan, I've been kept home from the for quite some time. I don't say that to suggest the sacrifice I've made, but simply how strong the draw to stay home really is.

But last night two factors played in. The first was an incredibly early start time, which wouldn't affect me going to work happy and healthy today. The second was the movie, High Crime by Enzo G. Castellari.

The movie is fantastic, and I enjoyed that a lot.

But all the moments before and after I just wished I was home with Kim and Conan. The experience has changed substantially. We'll see sometime in the future if and when that balances back. For now this is probably going to continue to be a rarity.

For some reason, High Crime, the Italian title is La polizia incrimina la legge assolve ("The police indict, the law acquits"), is a no-show on region 1 DVD. It maintains a surprisingly high profile despite this, presumably as it is indeed one of the best of the poliziottesci I've seen. For the record, I probably still prefer Castellari's The Big Racket and probably Rabid Dogs by Mario Bava (although only in the earlier "Rabid Dogs" edit and definitely not the Lamberto Bava supervised "Kidnapped" version) and Almost Human by Umberto Lenzi.

(Yeah. That came out as a cop-out. It's tough. I really do dig these movies a lot.)

Part of the problem with my judgment either way is that not only was it my first movie on my own since Conan was born, it's also a father story. Franco Nero plays a police commissioner and presumably a widower who is responsible for the care of a young daughter, Anita, played by Castellari's own daughter Stefania. As easy as it is to talk about how well the action in the movie is shot, it also stands out how much love Castellari's camera has for her, and Nero's performance serves to reinforce that with both joy and gravity.

It does open with a tense and realistic car chase. I'm generally not a fan of car chases, but this is one of those that specifically feels like what a car chase must really be like. Violent City by Sergio Sollima is perhaps more renowned as an Italian crime chase, but it owes to obvious a debt to the famous chase from Bullitt by Peter Yates for me. This one feels like its own moment, and pays off only with frustration and ultimately tragedy.

It's a movie that functions equally as a crazed violent action movie and a drama, which is exactly what I love, so it was nearly custom made for me. I'd love to see someone come along and release a nice DVD that I could put on my shelf and enjoy forever.

As footnotes: They included the trailer for Gambling City by Sergio Martino and I Kiss the Hand by Vittorio Schiraldi, and it's now imperative that I rectify the fact that I haven't seen them.

And perhaps it's been too long since I've gone, but the current Alamo Drafthouse promotional video for this month, featuring "I Go To Work" by Kool Moe Dee is one of the best I've seen of their promotional videos and I always enjoy them.

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