Blu-Ray Review: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Given the rather troubling rise of the far right and a resurgence in support for views espoused by Benito Mussolini, in modern Italy, the country is once again facing a turbulent socio-political period. Of which there have been many. Towards the end of the 1960, and throughout the next decade, there were a spate of protests across the nation; from the far-left and far-right. Widespread demonstrations evolved into bombings and shooting. The period became known as anni di piombo (years of lead). The authorities responded with numerous crackdowns. This is the setting for Investigation of a Citizen Under Suspicion.

Dottore (Gian Maria Volonté) is beloved by his men in Homicide. His methods are harsh and strict but the results speak for themselves. He has been rewarded for his endeavours with a promotion to the Political division. After murdering his mistress (Florinda Bolkan), he insinuates himself into the investigation, planting clues which point towards a number of suspects. Believing himself to be naturally superior and above suspicion, Dottore switches the focus to himself.

Investigation of a Citizen Under Suspicion is a bold and inspired character study which draws its ‘leader’ against the backdrop of the political and social turmoil of the era. Elio Petri’s film delves deep into the psyche of the Italian people. Delicately balancing maniacal absurdity with brutal realism. Volonté is a snarling beast, delivering a masterclass in muscular acting and irrepressible self-belief. Investigation of a Citizen Under Suspicion is thrilling and troubling filmmaking which will leave you gasping for breath.

Special features:

  • New 4K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Archival interview with director Elio Petri, conducted by critic and filmmaker Alexandre Astruc
  • Elio Petri: Notes About a Filmmaker (2005), a ninety-minute documentary on the director’s career, featuring interviews with friends, collaborators, and filmmakers
  • New interview with film scholar Camilla Zamboni
  • Investigation of a Citizen Named Volontè (2008), a fifty-minute documentary about actor Gian Maria Volontè
  • Music in His Blood, an interview with composer Ennio Morricone from 2010, conducted by film critic Fabio Ferzetti
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Evan Calder Williams and excerpts from a 2001 book by screenwriter Ugo Pirro

Investigation of a Citizen Under Suspicion is released by Sony Pictures as part of the Criterion Collection on 18 January.

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