Sicilian Checkmate / La violenza: Quinto potere (1972)

4.5 out of 5

Sicilian Checkmate is a courtroom procedural and Mafia exposé that, while largely set around bench, box and bar, peppers the proceedings with shotgun fire galore through occasional flashback.

Written by the Strip Nude For Your Killer wordmeister Massimo Felisatti, the resulting drama is not unlike something for which viewers would expect to find the folding chair occupied by Damiano Damiani, a director who did much to highlight, via the cinematic craft, the corrupting role of the mob upon Sicilian life. However the film is directed by Florestano Vancini.

The cast is, from the point of view of the Eurocrime enthusiast, surely one of the stronger of the genre with Enrico Maria Salerno from Late Night Trains, Riccardo Cucciolla from Rabid Dogs, henchman extraordinaire Guido Leontini, Elio Zamuto from Violent Naples with his Borat-like soup-strainer and even the wonderful Calibro 9 pairing of Mario Adorf and Gastone Moschin.

More surprising is Ciccio Ingrassia, sans hyperactive sidekick, who certainly puts in a noteworthy performance. However it is the incomparable Moschin who here pretty much rises above his fellow genre peers to steal the show in the most memorable fashion. He acts his socks off.

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