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Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

97

liked it
Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 1,511

My Rating

Movie Info

In a time of internal political disturbance, Roman police inspector Gian Maria Volontè (the bad guy in A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More) gets that plum assignment: crack down on political dissidents; then proceeds to slash the throat of married mistress Florinda Bolkan ("a beautiful, kinky masochist" - Vincent Canby). But as homicide cops swarm over the murder scene, guess who gets tapped to head the investigation? And, as every clue unearthed - most perversely planted by Volontè

R,

Art House & International, Drama

Dec 2, 2013

Sony Pictures Repertory - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

Its portrait of a loner and his lusts comes up frighteningly fresh, and the whole conceit would collapse without the muscular, rousing presence of Gian Maria Volonté in the central role.

October 1, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
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A paranoid police procedural, a perverse parable about the corrupting elements of power, and a candidate for the greatest predated Patriot Act movie ever ...

September 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
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A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in 1970. Maybe more so.

September 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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The movie survives beautifully both as an elegant thriller and as a study of the twisted infantilism that shapes the fanatic heart.

September 25, 2003 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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A potent study of power as pathology.

April 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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Unfettered freedom is a source of dismay to the Roman homicide detective... He wants to have limits, he simply doesn't know where they are.

December 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion begins like a giallo, but soon pushes beyond even that genre's outré boundaries, playing like a fever dream.

December 3, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Decades later, Petri's Italian political thriller is just as timely and provocative as it was in 1970, when it won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Moderately engrossing parable, crime drama and character study, with rigid political undertones.

March 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

One of the most sardonic, brilliant satires of its era.

January 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Gian Maria Volonté persuasively personifies a suave, spitefully malevolent kind of hitchcockian sociopath. A surreal and strong meditation about how some human beings can be corrupted by power. A fundamental allegory to understand the Italian sociopolitical situation of that time, and possibly to draw parallels with any present so-called democratic system of government.
September 11, 2011
pier007

Super Reviewer

Lots of informative special features on this newly released Criterion Collection blue-ray/dvd combo. There's an interview with composer, Ennio Morricone, who wrote a very memorable soundtrack for this picture. There's a documentary about writer/director Elio Petri's career. There's also a documentary about star Gian Maria Volonté. Petri often told stories that were anti-fascist or anti-authoritarian. His movies could get him in trouble with the Italian authorities of the time. Volonté, himself, was active in political protests. He would often march with students protesting the fascist system. In this movie, Volonté plays a role that is completely opposite from who he was in real life. He is a clean-cut police chief who transfers from the homicide division to the political division. Right at the top, he murders his mistress and even plants some clues that could lead back to himself just to prove that he is above suspicion. We see the chief belittling the men who take charge of the homicide division, even as they investigate his murder, and we see the extent of wire-tapping and files kept on subversives in Rome. The chief makes a speech about criminals being the same as subversives. He also says that "repression is civilization!" In flashbacks, we see how the chief met his murder victim. Augusta Terzi (Bolkan) is a kinky fetishist. Talk about Fifty Shades of Grey. Augusta loves to play dominance/submission games. Together, she and the chief, re-enact the crime scenes of murder victims he has found throughout his career. At first, she is submissive. The chief compares the police to God and parents who punish their children. Like Eve in the garden of Eden, Augusta is presented as the evil influence that tempts the chief to commit crimes because he is above the law. Then, suddenly, the chief can't handle it when Augusta reverses her role and begins making him feel inadequate. This is his excuse for murdering her. The chief develops an obsessive neurosis to prove that he is above the law. The surreal ending shows a couple possible outcomes. The police activities are often shown to be hidden underground. The camera often views the action from overhead. It is all quite visceral and it ends with a quote from Franz Kafka.
February 4, 2014
hypathio7

Super Reviewer

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  • Ermittlungen gegen einen über jeden Verdacht erhabenen Bürger (DE)
  • Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (UK)
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