Uno bianca (2001)

4.0 out of 5

All anyone knows about the trigger-happy bank robbers of the Uno Bianca gang is that they pull off jobs using a white Fiat Uno. That’s the delicious conceit of this action- mystery originally made for Italian TV. Viewers never know more than the two lead inspectors as they risk everything to track down these serial perpetrators of the perfect crime. Kim Rossi Stuart and Dino Abbrescia play the young police detectives saddled by routine duties—and official obstruction—with the just right amount of humour. Their personal back-stories are diminished to keep the plot moving breakneck for 190 minutes.

Director Michele Soavi, a Dario Argento protégé whose 1990s horror oeuvre includes Cemetery Man, imbues this based-in-fact account with classy production values, from neo-noir lighting to urgent editing. It’s such a thrill when our heroes start to zero in on the enigmatic gang that we can forgive the cliched cop movie tropes like institutional corruption, off-the-books investigations, and a macho do-or-die quest for justice. It’s a testament to Soavi’s storytelling chops that we barely notice the paucity of violence, which explodes only as necessary for maximum shock.

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