L’Assassino. Film Review

Director: Elio Petri
SCREENPLAY: Tonino Guerra, Elio Petri
STARRING: Marcello Mastroianni, Micheline Presle, Cristina Gaioni, Salvo Randone
Reviewed by Guy Adams

Elio Petri is predominantly remembered as the director of INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION and camp precursor to THE RUNNING MAN, THE 10th VICTIM (in which Ursula Andress kills a man with her bra gun). This, his first movie, is a far more down to earth affair, the story of a roguish antiques dealer arrested as a murder suspect.  Said rogue is played by Marcello Mastroianni, unquestionably the coolest man in Italian cinema. In a couple of years he would escape a traffic jam by floating out of his car and sailing skywards in Fellini’s 8 1/2 , here he might wish for such surreal solutions as his life takes one nosedive after another.

The movie isn’t about whether its main character is guilty or not, it’s about the journey. It wonders whether a man can be changed by such an experience. I’ll leave it to you to discover the answer.

Part of the Arrow Academy label, the film looks lovely in crisp, brooding black and white. Ghost cinema. A foreign world of sharp suits, empty beaches and lonely, roadside coffee stands. It’s a haunting movie and a thoroughly welcome release on Blu-ray.

Special features include an introduction by Pasquale Iannone and a documentary on Tonino Guerra, the renowned Italian screenwriter.