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After viewing Castellari's 'High Crime' and Di Leo's 'Milano Calibro 9' my life-long obsession with Italian crime cinema began in earnest; and a more suitable baptismal font from which to anoint oneself with euro crime’s original sin would be hard to find, as ‘Milano Calibro 9’ remains one of the towering achievements of Di Leo’s woefully undocumented career. From the bravura opening montage; where Di Leo creates a tense, dynamic pulse of underworld chicanery, driven to a tumultuous climax by the dense, throbbing, almost baroque jazz funk of, Luis Bacalov (arguably his finest score). And from then on Di Leo is unerring in his fierce vision of violent double dealings and unflinching vengeance, with nary a skipped beat for the film’s duration, a rollicking, breathless yarn gloriously undiluted by soft-bellied tangents or tepid self indulgeance. The gangster milieu simply doesn’t get any better than this; as much as I dig on Melville’s studied, glacial cool, Di Leo’s swarthy mise en scene has got balls the size of prize winning pumpkins. Some may find all these myriad of hyperbolic blogs dedicated to a Italian crime cinema a trifle perplexing...then, they discover ‘Milano Calibro 9’, and in one brutal pole axing knee to the oily conkers it’s all over; one can never return to the anodyne world of mainstream cinema without a considerable degree of incredulity.  Forget Hubbard, quantum mechanics or Castaneda, this film WILL change your life.     




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