THE ASSASSIN REVIEWED
“The Assassin” showcases what I love about Elio Petri. Petri’s films focus on seemingly Kafkaesque situations rather than what was popular in Italian cinema. His work on “The Assassin” via Mastroianni showcases an underappreciated aspect of Italian cinema. Basically, the ability to focus on terror of an ever shifting identity. This isn’t a film about studded killers living that Bond life. This is a movie about a society putting a certain lifestyle on trial.
When Alfredo gets arrested, it’s because he has a thing for rich cougars. Whether he’s a gigolo or not, that doesn’t matter. When the local police hammer him upon his arrest, it’s out of jealousy and disgust. Alfredo’s life is a symbol of the changing 1960s and it threatens what security is left in a still rebuilding Italy. It’s not Paisan, but the shadow of Mussolini’s downfall still hangs over Italy at this point. What does this mean for you?
Well, if you’re picking this film as a blind buy…you’re doing good. This film marked Petri’s start and I find it easy to warm up to what he’d do later. Still, I’d pick up a far more action oriented movie and then warm into this one.
- 1.85:1 1080p transfer
- LPCM 2.0 MONO
RELEASE DATE: 4/18/17
The Plot Thus Far
Released within months of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Antonioni’s La Notte, Elio Petri’s dazzling first feature The Assassin (L’Assassino) also stars Marcello Mastroianni, this time as dandyish thirtysomething antiques dealer Alfredo Martelli, arrested on suspicion of murdering his older, far wealthier lover Adalgisa (Micheline Presle). But as the increasingly Kafkaesque police investigation proceeds, it becomes less and less important whether Martelli actually committed the crime as his entire lifestyle is effectively put on trial. Best known for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Tenth Victim, Petri was one of the finest and yet most underrated Italian directors of the 1960s and 70s. Highly acclaimed on its original release but unjustly neglected since, The Assassin is a remarkably assured debut from one of the cinema’s sharpest chroniclers of Italian social and political realities. Petri said that he wanted to reflect the changes wrought by the early sixties, and to examine “a new generation of upstarts who lacked any kind of moral scruple”. Arrow Academy is proud to present The Assassin in a gorgeous high-definition restoration created by the Cineteca di Bologna.