Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

1970

Crime / Drama

158
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 95%
IMDb Rating 8.1 10 8,426

Synopsis


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May 11, 2020

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.03 GB
1280*720
Italian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
115 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.92 GB
1920×1080
Italian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
115 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by frippertronic81 9 / 10 / 10

Investigation on a movie above its notoriety .

"Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sopetto" ("Investigation of a citizen above suspicion") is a surrealistic police-story directed by the Italian film-maker Elio Petri in 1970 . A very original screenplay tells us the story of a respected police inspector who commits a crime and deliberately leaves clues just to find out how big is his reputation of "a citizen above suspicion" . The theme is developed from this single event and becomes an intelligent and provocative reflection about the concepts of authority and institution . While some could wrongly see this movie as a left-wing political one because of the way it depicts police authorities' excessive power , It is really only a fair illustration denouncing the impotence of institutions of making an impartial investigation about their own mistakes . The main theme of the movie rises up a brilliant and paradoxical question : how can the organs which administrate the "Law" condemn themselves without risking their own collapse and negation ? To this question the movie answers with the pessimistic vision that a real justice is an utopia because of human-beings' weaknesses and self-preservative nature . This brilliant reflection is developed in an highly entertaining and smoothly constructed satirical police-story : in fact the movie has an overwhelming "funny" tone especially thanks to Gian Maria Volonte' superb acting in the main role of the "fascistoid" police inspector . The ending will surprise you with the way it reveals the surrealistic nature of the whole topic . Even if this movie was highly awarded and acclaimed at its time , (1 Oscar for Best foreign film , 1 Nomination for Best original screenplay , won Grand Prize of the Jury and Golden Palm nomination at Cannes Films Festival , 1 Golden globe nomination ) at the present days it has been criminally forgotten . I can only add that I personally consider it one of the best Italian films ever made and one of the most provocative police-stories in the last 40 years . Unfortunately it suffers of a very poor international distribution so , unless you live in Italy , it won't be easy for you to find this movie . But it doesn't matter how hard it will be , it will be worth it .

Reviewed by imagineallthenames 10 / 10 / 10

Everyone is GUILTY when the legitimate abuse of violence happens (esp. those on top)

Some comments in light of previous descriptions of the movie. This movie is definitively about state violence. Even if to a viewer that has no foreknowledge of the police state that was instituted in Italy (with the help of the CIA as the movie alludes to) in order to keep the Communist Party from taking power (the PCI had the biggest following of any parties at that time), the fact remains that the movie is not much more surreal than the socio-political reality facing the film-maker. Murders and "suicides" (while in police custody) of left-wing political activists and of anarchists are a fact that Elio Petri was painfully aware of. He made a documentary called "Streghi dello stato" "witches of the state" where Jean Maria Volonte and others expose such "suicides". Elio Petri was politically aware and through out his work there is criticism of the right wing of Italian politics (see TODO MORO). I think that the movie is most powerful once you are aware of the fact that you can be victimized at the hands of an institution, esp. at the hands of an institution that exists only to maintain political order. Once the politicization of the priorities of those institutions that have the legitimate use of violence occurs, than meaningless violence towards the innocent will be allowed if punishing it would impair the political functions of the state machinery. Flora Balkan is perhaps a symbol for the masses, their love of violence and power, their love for the undoing of their freedoms. A very fine movie that requires some effort, but that is always actual - thanks to an interesting narration of human nature. The movie does have it's flaws and i the action is not as invigorated as one expects it to be after the first 15 minutes, neither is the camera work at the level it has to be for this movie to be the greatest ever but it is still a hell of a great movie. Whether or not you agree with this movie's negative portrayal of state violence and of that primal attraction that violence has (explored in a marvelously Mediterranean style in this movie) for so many could make the difference in how much you are puzzled by the movie. If you see it a a satire of power and violence - it might work.

Reviewed by pipeoxide 10 / 10 / 10

Italian Cinema at Its Peak!

The final scene in Elio Petri's 1970 Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion concludes with a quote from Kafka's The Trial: "Whatever he may seem to us, he is yet a servant of the Law; that is, he belongs to the Law and as such is set beyond human judgment." What Petri has left out from this excerpt is also that "to doubt his integrity is to doubt the Law itself". The "he" in question here is the man of the Law – the police inspector – played brilliantly, hair slicked back et al, by Gian Maria Volontè. Without any scruples, we see the Inspector coldly cut his mistress's throat with a razor between the sheets in a kinky role-playing romp, sans scruples, only to prove to himself if he is, as he believes, a citizen above suspicion and beyond the Law which he so firmly adheres to. This complex film is a cinematic gem thanks to its multifarious tropes – at times absurd black comedy, at times vitriolic political satire, at times psychological study into sexual fetishism and power. Of course, all of these themes intermingle so effortlessly that you can't help but be taken aback by the richness of Petri's byzantine vision. The left-leaning director here depicts the autocratic terror that overtook Italy in the late 60s, an overture to the tense, decade-long period known as the "years of lead" in Italian politics – a time of fascist repression and a struggle between the equally-as-extreme left and right of center parties. Beyond its political overtones (which are universal yet now paradoxically outdated, as we see rebellious students waving their little red Maoist books around to anger the "fascist pigs" in the police force), Investigation plays its strongest and most universal hand in its view of authority, and specifically, those that wield an ungodly amount of it. The Inspector, in a snug, black suit, commands and degrades his subordinates, yet in the way a responsible teacher would reprimand a naughty student. That is, he believes his own righteousness and position, and here, once he commits the murder of Augusta Terzi (the stunning Florinda Bolkan), he leaves the Law to spin its wheels of Justice, having full confidence in the organ of power that commands him. As the Inspector sits in the office of his boss, the Commissioner (a sleazy Gianni Santuccio), he trembles like a child, waiting for approval and acceptance. After the latter admits to having an affair with the murdered victim, the unperturbed Commissioner asks him amidst a smoke-filled smirk, holding a cigar in his fat fingers, "So, was she, you know? Any good?" Here we can make the link between power and sexual impotence, as the simple reason the Inspector kills his lover is because she has brought to light his personal inadequacies as a man. An individual who holds such dominance over others, who commands such authority, is an addictive aphrodisiac for Bolkan's underwear-hating heroine, but after a while, she sees her Inspector is nothing more than a capricious child obsessed and deceived with a position of power that holds no integrity and no truth. For her, his sexual appeal has vanished, the organ of dominance has grown limp, as the incongruity between the Inspector's projected image and his actual self begins to grow. She hates his little black socks, his dull black suit, and his overall bureaucratic appearance. In a few great satirical moments, we see the impressionable Inspector strolling the streets in a trendy new khaki suit, a purple silk ascot, fashionable sunglasses – a caricature of Italian culture to the fullest. So what prompts Volontè's Inspector to make his final decision? Is he a stern follower of the Law who wants to test it and prove himself superior to his inept colleagues; a sadistic neofascist bureaucrat who lives for control and subjugation of others; an infantile with a bruised ego thanks to an untamable feminine force? Are we, as viewers, not to question his actions, but simply to accept them as necessary because he's "a man of the Law", superior to us, despite his faults, as Kafka leads us to believe…or is that just Petri's tongue-in-cheek humor getting the best of us? That's the fun of this great film, and the kookiness of Ennio Morricone's twangy score adds to the comical effect of a dark and witty étude into power, sex, and politics.

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