Generally speaking the poliziotesschi/Euro-crime cycle can be divided into four distinct thematic and narrative strands. The first explores the power struggles, relationships, and group dynamics of organised crime mobs, and are best represented by the early formative crime flicks of Fernando Di Leo; most notably Milano Calibro 9 (1972), and The Boss (1973). The second explores the manner in which innocent members of society, frustrated by the inactivity of the police, take the law into their own hands, and seek retribution through violent means; a good example is Street Law (1974), which took as its inspiration Michael Winner’s defining statement on vigilantism Death Wish (1974). The third and most pervasive strand was inspired by the rule breaking rogue cop seen in Dirty Harry (1971), and these films are marked by themes of police brutality, sticky networks of bureaucratic red tape, and detectives frequently breaking the law in order to maintain their own sense of moral equilibrium; almost any Italian crime film of the 1970’s featuring the talents of Maurizio Merli fits this description. These three narrative types are united by high octane energy, stylised shoot outs and fistfights, dangerous chase sequences, and pulse pounding soundtracks.
© Shaun Anderson 2012