Director Elio Petri
Year 1970
Starring Gian Maria Volonté, Florinda Bolkan
Run Time 112min
More Info IMDb

This screening is part of our May celebration of the Big Bads of cinema!

Against a backdrop of intense political unrest in 1970s Italy, a Roman police inspector plays out a Kafkaesque tale as he investigates a brutal murder - one which he himself committed. The provocative filmmaker Elio Petri maintains an uneasy balance between absurdity, genre thrills and terrifying realism in this unsettling, visceral, Oscar-winning thriller.

Gian Maria Volontè (the villain in A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE) gives a magnetic performance as the deadly inspector, a man whose authority and aura of power have kept others from noticing his psychotic lapse. He's about to transfer from homicide to a police division devoted to suppressing political radicals and he suspects he’s become above the law. By murdering his mistress, he’s found a way to prove it, if only to himself. Or has he? As he continues to investigate his own crime he becomes haunted, not by the crime itself or any impending punishment, but by the genuine the absense of consequences.

The film refuses to give viewers a safe place to stand. As director Elio Petri's machine gun edits shoot back and forth between murder and detection, set to the insidious rhythms of Ennio Morricone's jaunty but foreboding score, INVESTIGATION becomes both a compelling character study of a crypto-fascist and a disturbing commentary on draconian government crackdowns.

This is a film whose central mystery is not "Who dunnit?" but "Why?" Yet the chilling answer stares us in the face from the beginning and offers no comfort: The inspector commits murder simply because he can.

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