June 2017


The Assassin (L’Assassin)
Arrow Films/MVD
Blu-ray Review By: Jaime Pina

Released in 1961 between Marcello Mastroianni’s landmark work in Fellini’s 8 ½ and La Dolce Vita, L’Assassin is a tight thriller that features Mastroianni at his most charming and handsome. Directed with style by Elio Petri, it is filmed in gorgeous black and white and features a moving jazz score.

Mastroianni plays Alfredo Martelli, a dealer in antiques. He is hustled to the station by the police without being told exactly what he is being accused of and little by little we learn the story through the police’s questions and Martelli’s flashbacks/answers. He learns a bit about himself by revisiting his past and in some scenes the criminals sharing his cell mentally abuse him. He comes close to cracking but holds on and some of the camera tricks during the flashback scenes are amazing.

Mastroianni is the kind of actor who can effortlessly reel you into a story like this because you just can’t take your eyes off of him. Even when depicted as being a bit of a scoundrel Petri casts an angelic light on Mastroianni as he photographs him. The noir style he brings to the film works perfectly and all the elements come together beautifully. It’s a masterful and absorbing piece of art.

The Blu-ray by Arrow looks crisp and the noir elements can be appreciated to full effect. The soundtrack is crisp as well with the popping score by Piero Piccioni really standing out. The extras include a documentary on screenwriter Tonino Guerra and a trailer.

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