Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

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100%

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Total Count: 14

95%

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User Ratings: 1,683

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Movie Info

A highly regarded Italian police inspector (Gian Maria Volonte) murders his mistress, only to become part of the homicide investigation that follows. The inspector proceeds to plant clues at the crime scene as his fellow officers either ignore or fail to recognize his obvious tampering. But all is not as it seems. While the killer may have an inside track on fabricating his own innocence, he also seems to be testing the competence and integrity of Italian law enforcement.

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Critic Reviews for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (14)

  • 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 Volont in the central role.

    October 1, 2012 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Stylistically disconnected, but it works because it is absolutely fascinated with the nature of the inspector.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in 1970. Maybe more so.

    September 26, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • A potent study of power as pathology.

    April 1, 2003 | Full Review…
  • It marks the pinnacle of a lucrative union with Morricone, whose half playful, half deliriously creepy score here is a definite highlight, as well as a Petri's highpoint of collaboration with Gian Maria Volonte, who gives a career best performance.

    November 12, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

  • Oct 04, 2015
    I was disappointed by the pacing of the film, but more so with its content. It was hardly engaging and often enraging (not owing to the situations in the movie, but due to dull execution). The performances didn't help any to elevate the experience. Boring and avoidable "classic" flick, IMO.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Aug 29, 2008
    Volonte is goddamned brilliant here.
    chase _ Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2007
    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.
    Pierluigi P Super Reviewer
  • Mar 01, 2007
    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.
    Byron B Super Reviewer

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