Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion Reviews

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July 23, 2017
An extremely well shot thriller with edge-of-your-seat tension and a thought-provoking political message.
July 18, 2017
Now this is a movie.
½ June 22, 2017
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is certainly very well acted, directed and its premise is excellent and it gives us a really interesting angle to a regular crime flick, but it is still a product of its time in some scenes, it is technically not the greatest and it became more unbelievable as it progressed leading to a solid film which had the potential to be much better.
½ December 21, 2016
Almost grotesque in its point-making, Petri's film targets corruption, fascism, and power by showing that a leader of the police force might theoretically be immune from prosecution, even for murder. Gian Maria Volonte plays said cop, the head of the homicide division (but promoted to the head of the political division as the film begins), who murders his mistress and plants obvious clues incriminating himself to test whether he really is "above suspicion". Rather garish to look at, as some Italian films seem to be, and full of travelling shots, flashbacks, and minor characters that clutter things up a bit, this is still Volonte's show as he dominates everything (and even more so when he starts targeting subversives as a function of his new role). I guess it is blackly comic how the police and surrounding bureaucracy do everything possible to deny Volonte's guilt, even when he goes so far as to confess. I didn't think this at the time but perhaps Donald Trump's ability to get away with the most heinous sexist and racist actions also fits this pattern...although in this case, actions have been minimized by supporters rather than completely denied (but this too would keep an authoritarian leader in place).
June 13, 2016
"Indagini su di un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto" è un film dotato ancora di una grande potenza. Un drammatico giallo, psicologico e sociologico, che sconvolge nel 2016 come sconvolgeva nel 1970, quando vinse il premio Oscar come miglio film straniero.
Psicologico perché smaschera le debolezze e le insicurezze di un uomo, tanto piccolo nella sfera privata quanto autoritario nella sua forma pubblica. Sociologico perché contesta l'autorevolezza e l'incorruttibilità della giustizia in realtà fatta da uomini imperfetti.
Una recitazione spettacolare, non solo da parte di Volontè ma anche degli altri attori. Il tutto accompagnato dalla ormai emblematica colonna sonora di Ennio Morricone.
Un grandissimo film ancora valido, provacatico ed onirico.
Super Reviewer
½ October 4, 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.
April 5, 2015
Boring. Truly. I read reviews afterward. Glowing, ecstatic. I must be getting senile. This film is too intellectual and not believable. It is full of ideas, yes. Corruption, police brutality, political suppression, and on and on, but it just isn't interesting. The music by Morricone is terrific.
February 18, 2015
What a great movie about corruption and abuse of power. It wags its finger critically without losing anything in the storytelling. One of the best buildups to one of the best finales I've seen in a long time.
½ December 20, 2014
Absolutely perverse in the best way possible. A wonderfully twisted, Kafkaesque film.

The film's story is about a police chief who murders his mistress, then drops hints, both subtle and not so subtle, that he's the one who did it. A brilliant setup, and one that succeeds quite well.

Our killer chief is played by Gian Maria Volonte, and he rises to the task brilliantly. He has to walk a fine line, both in making his role as murderer credible, but also his role as someone who would be overlooked as the murderer as well. Volonte manages both tasks with relative ease. Heck, the first show of the film is him looking straight at the camera, almost taunting the audience to prove what the Italian police cannot.

The film asks a lot of interesting questions like whether or not he's doing it prove how easy it is or whether he wants to be caught. The chief (he's never given a name) becomes so blatant later on, that's your jaw is dropping at the sheer lunacy that nobody has figured it out, even though several characters are implied to have done so. Mind-boggling and maddening in the best way.

It's great. It's really great. That's all there is to it.
September 27, 2014
Disturbing study of corruption with an explosive performance by Gian Maria Volonte. This is sweat-drenched, stinky political satire with a kinky score by Ennio Morricone which ranks among his very best.
July 25, 2014
I was expecting this to be a mystery/suspense film but instead found it was an ironic political satire. I only actually laughed a few times near the end, but I was amused throughout.
June 1, 2014
Brilliant portrait of a police chief inspector, of a fascist, of the bourgeois/capitalist state.
½ May 12, 2014
The head of the homicide squad commits murder, then the film explores the potential outcomes as he challenges the system. All too intimidating. Gian Maria Volonte is fantastic and Petri is at his best.
½ February 24, 2014
So cops or anyone in power can get away with anything even for the obvious reasons? I get that, but most of the movie I didn't quite understand, like why did he kill the woman if he loves her, simply because he can? Anyhow, this is a real mind teaser, testing the boundaries of power and brotherhood. It'll keep you guessing until the end.
Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2014
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.
January 14, 2014
This movie is really good! Full of plot twists and fine acting highlighted by superb direction accompanied by a beautiful score!
December 6, 2013
Dark and cynical comedy that is every bit as vital today as it must have been in 1970. There is a degree of hamminess to some of the performances. But other than that, this is a great film. In addition, the film features a memorable score from Ennio Morricone. Criterion has just issued a beautiful 4K restoration of this film.
July 30, 2013
This 1970s Italian political drama opens with a compelling murder live show, a dapper man, Volonté (the head of homicide squad) artfully kills his erotic mistress (Bolken) with a sharp blade, and what's befuddling the viewers is after that, Volonté intentionally leaves many traces which could be implicated to him at the scene of the crime, all the more a face-to-face encounter with a witness when he leaves the building. Naturally, one has to divine his motivation of his deviant contrivances, but the film doesn't opt to give a straightforward answer to the illogicality, instead it unwinds itself into a sociological tirade aiming at the blazon compliance of the ruling power echelon, Volonté has been promoted to a more authoritarian post, politics-oriented, and the cover-up process degrades the whole investigation into a farce, lushly recorded by the agile camera.

Arguably, this is Elio Petri's most famous film, an Oscar's BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM crowner, and won him 2 awards in CANNES that year, Petri may not occupy an international cachet so high as his Italian peers, but the film can potently justify his talent, it is an authentic gas, wonderfully designed camerawork with a great architectonic predilection, astute sense of unpicking the tacit phone-interception dirty business, a twitchy sensibility towards the rotten authorities, and upbraids an undeniable self-awareness of being politically-biased.

Volonté is tailor-made for the leading role, a typical male chauvinist, over-cocksure by appearance while underneath he is a man haunted by his impotence and jealousy (Bolken has mentioned a few times he is only a child which effectively irritates him), although ambiguous about the raison d'être of his act, Volonté is confident, menacing and impressive out of his common Spaghetti image. Bolken is billed as the co-lead, but mostly appears in flashback and the film has curtailed her character to a sexy trophy, a power-worshipper and a dispensable pawn whose stupidity overshadows her own demise, nevertheless she is a stunner in all her shots. The standout of the all-male supporting cast is Salvo Randone as an innocent plumber, who caves in poignantly in front of power, a bona-fide scene stealer.

Last but not the least is Ennio Morricone's score, the repeated motif has a synthesized rhythm, catchy and indelible, throughout the film, it renders the film a touch of ridicule and never leave any chance for the audiences to be bored by the doctrinal tone the film unintentionally betrays.
February 15, 2013
A smart, powerful and politically important movie "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion" remains entertaining despite it's heavy message. Elio Petri runs the show with strong visuals and a fantastic performance by Gian Maria Volonte.
½ January 2, 2013
Wicked and mean, like a great crime drama should be, with a typical great performance from Volonte.
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