Kings of Crime / Romanzo criminale (2005)

4.5 out of 5

A little bit Once Upon a Time in America and a little bit Goodfellas the 1970s set Kings of Crime tells the story of the rise of a group of friends who take control of the criminal underworld in Rome. Touching on the political climate of the era both the murder of Aldo Moro and the bombing of the Bologna station, here rendered in a below average CGI explosion, are touched upon and the link between organised crime and both the overt and covert state are suggested.

While the turbulent cold war era political climate receives a reasonable overview the themes have been better handled, unsurprisingly, by both crime and political thrillers from the decade itself and the film adds little new information to the understanding of the times.

Nevertheless the more contemporary cinematic styling does add a certain urgency to the gun-play even if the movie lacks some of the more dramatic car chase moments of it's 1970s genre equivalents. However Romanzo criminale represents a welcome return to a bygone genre and the result is one more akin to an up to date Damiani film than the more action oriented work of Lenzi or Castellari.

During the golden age of Eurocrime director Michele Placido starred in titles such as The Black Hand and Oedipus orca among a host of other genre favourites.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics