Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tony Arzenta (1973)
Directed by Duccio Tessari. "Tony Arzenta" is the original title of this Italian mob flick about a professional hitman who wants to retire to spend more time with his son, presumably in order to teach him some manners because this kid's got a mouth on him, let me tell you. Anyway, if you're thinking that this is probably the one movie where the mob shakes a guy's hand, tells him that it's been nice working with him and sends him on his way with a parting gift, you're wrong. Instead their feelings seem kind of hurt and they express this by solving his problem with the mouthy kid in an unnecessarily extreme fashion. As you might expect from one or two similar films you may have seen of this sort, Tony is not just bummed out. And now we've got a movie.
The success of a movie like this depends on a few things. We have to feel Tony's rage, which despite him seeming possibly better off without the child, we do, thanks to a fine performance by Alain Delon (whom you probably enjoyed in Jean-Pierre Melville's 1967 film, "Le Samourai," in which he played...a hitman).
Also, for a movie like this to work there have to be creative methods of enacting revenge. And there are. This is always simultaneously the best part and the least believable part of any movie like this. We never hear or see a protagonist plan out these crazy acts of revenge, we just watch each unfold, wondering what he'll do next with something he's making, or stealing, or by spending time with a person he's taking into his confidence.
Also released under the title "Big Guns" (useless) and "No Way Out" (more telling but really hacky), we know that what drives Tony into this rage is the loss of his son and thus the fact that he no longer had anything to live for. This makes his revenge possible, but the consequences inevitable. He is a martyr for your movie time.