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Feature


The first part in director Fernando Di Leo s Milieu Trilogy, Milano Calibro 9 is a gritty, ultra-violent masterpiece and an essential entry in the canon of the poliziottesco subgenre (Italian crime thriller).

Released after a three-year term in prison for a bungled robbery, Ugo Piazza plans to lead the straight life for a while. But no sooner is he back on the street than he s picked up by a bunch of hoodlums under the employ of his former boss, the Americano among them, the psychopathic Rocco who are convinced that Ugo has stolen $300,000 from them. The gang forces Ugo to resume working for them in the hope that he ll eventually lead them to their missing loot.

Eschewing the sleazier, more exploitative approach of some of its poliziotteschi peers, Milano Calibro 9 delivers an altogether more thoughtful approach to its subject matter although Di Leo is not averse to show-stopping gun fights and long, lingering shots of the lovely Barbara Bouchet (Don t Torture a Duckling, The Black Belly of the Tarantula).[Taken from the Arrow Video Synopsis]


 Milano Calibro 9

Video


The 2K restoration here has a real warmth to its colours. Skin tones are bronzed, reds in clothing pop off the screen but even greys and browns look rich and bold in the largely gritty and cool looking film. Given the genre its easy just to see the greys here but this is actually quite the colourful film within sets and costume design and these brighter colours really do bring the image to life against the greyer more formal designs that come with this type of crime drama.
 
Lighting and light sources give the edges a very sharp and crisp appearance. There a slightly textured look to the film but it's never overbearing grainy and goes with the genre's and indeed the era it was made in's looks. Interior scenes hold up better than exteriors, due to the mistier appearance but the exterior scenes really do capture the coldness of the locations and have natural, real world appearance that gives a nice view of the time.

This is generally a very pleasing image, it enhances and celebrates the film in all the right ways and gives it a fresh feeling that almost makes the film seem timeless.

 Milano Calibro 9

Audio


Whether in Italian of English the dialogue here is dubbed and generates a disconnect in terms of realistic sound, that is of course unavoidable but that doesn't stop the film sounding otherwise clear and strong.

The immediately effective score that mixes the drive of the crime thriller and the more chaotic feel of the era is particularly good and even though the mono track gives most of the sound effects that muffled constricted sound (punches sound more like gunshots), it often manages to reach past the limitations and generates a wider sense of the film via Street sounds or lively go-go dances in lounge bars.

It's also worth noting the English dub and the Italian dub have separate subtitle sections, so make sure you get the right one because there are more than just subtle variations.

 Milano Calibro 9

Extras


‘Making of Milano Calibro 9’ (29:43 HD). This 2004 documentary covers the film from its book begins through, it's casting and final results.

‘Di Leo: The Genesis of the Genre’ (39:13 HD) takes a closer look at the films director, his life and his approach to film making.

‘Scerbanenco Noir’(26:21 HD) focuses in the the author of the book Milano Valibro 9, Giorgio Scerbanenco.

‘Garston Mochin’ Audio Interview (03:28) is a phone interview with the Star of the film and isn't the best quality.

 Milano Calibro 9
‘Italia Violenta’ (17:38 HD) Matthew Holness offers up an appreciation of Milano Calibro 9 and other films in the sub-genre. A historic look back at the films the US crime films such as The French Connection and Bullit led to this Italian wave of copy cats with a rawer edge.

There’s also the US and Italian trailers.

Last up is a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist and a fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roberto Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980 but i didn’t get these to look at for this review.

 Milano Calibro 9

Overall


Milano Calibro 9 is a gritty, straight faced Noir thriller that has a cool central character and a series of either goofy or hard edged bad guys for him to interact with. It's constantly broody, full of attitude and set is a world that mixes realism with the classic male fantasy of one man against the bad guys, with a dash of hot women in the side. The presentation looks great, the audio limited but up to scratch anyway and with a nice selection of extras, this would be a great in to the slice of Italian filmmaking that the US crime films such as The Godfather and Serpico spawned around the era.

 Milano Calibro 9


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