This is a story of a secret organization of former police officers, who go beyond the law, to kill notorious criminals without trial. One police inspector, (Enrico Maria Salerno) tries to ...
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This is a story of a secret organization of former police officers, who go beyond the law, to kill notorious criminals without trial. One police inspector, (Enrico Maria Salerno) tries to stop them, but the attorney (Mario Adorf) is not convinced by his conspiracy theories, so the inspector is basically on his own and can't trust anyone.
Fetch a ride on the midnight crime-sightseeing city tour bus!
"La Polizia Ringrazia" is, at first sight, a prototype of an Italian euro-crime/poliziotesschi thriller like there were dozens during the first half of the 1970s. They practically always featured the same recurring themes, like unorthodox coppers, the ever-failing Italian justice system, vigilante squads violently cleansing the streets, corrupt politicians and police superiors, media circuses and liberal newspapers influencing the public opinion. You'd think the audience eventually grew tired of these familiar and continuously recycled themes, but no. Quite the contrary, every Poliziotesschi is unique and, for avid genre fanatics like me, it's almost becoming an obsession to track them all down. "La Polizia Ringrazia" is a downright stellar example of the euro-crime's peak period, complete with a compelling & intelligent script, an intensely raw atmosphere of realism, a few shocking bits of violence, a great soundtrack (Stelvio Cipriani, of course) and brilliantly devoted performances by some of the finest contemporary stars (notably Enrico Maria Salerno, Mario Adorf, Cyril Cusack, ...)
Salerno is truly amazing as the clearly tormented Commissioner Bertone, caught between the frustration of seeing criminals getting released without a proper punishment and the accusations of the press about the police being too violent when making their arrests. Whilst on the case of finding two bank robbers who killed two people during their escape, Salerno is suddenly confronted with another major challenge. A secret group, existing of former policemen and even judges, are hunting down acquitted or fugitive criminals and brutally execute them in true mafia-style. Moral dilemmas aside, Commissioner Bertone must find now the bank robbers before the so-call "clean up squad" does. The material may be familiar, but writer/director Stefano Vanzina (better known as Steno) keeps the levels of suspense, plausibility and originality quite high and steady. I was particularly surprised by this, because Steno is mainly known for his light-headed comedies starring Bud Spencer!
The last thing you can say about "La Polizia Ringrazia" is that it is light-headed! There are a couple of sequences that initially seem very bizarre, but they actually work quite effectively. For example, Commissioner Bertone invites a whole bunch of journalists on a nightly tour bus drive through the city, just to demonstrate how disastrous the crime plague is. The role of Mario Adorf, as the unreliable district attorney, is also quite unusual for this type of film, but the role (and, of course, Adorf's performance) add a great deal of value to an already intelligent film. "La Polizia Ringrazia" is far from being the most explicitly violent Poliziotesschi, but several scenes are nevertheless immensely brutal and gritty. The clean-up squad's cold-blooded executions, for instance, and especially the horrendous fate of a poor woman who's taken hostage and eventually thrown off a driving vehicle. It's the second time in a short period that I've seen such a similarly shocking death, the other movie being "La Legge Violenta della Squadra Anticrimine", starring John Saxon and J. Lee Cob. And no, it's not recycled footage, as I know the Italians were infamous for that.
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