Confessions of a Police Captain (1971) Poster

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Lived-in thriller, cop on the edge
Blaise_B9 October 2007
Political thriller by Damiano Damiani (BULLET FOR THE GENERAL, HOW TO KILL A JUDGE) that creates a world so vivid that every time I watch it, I forget Franco Nero didn't dub his own voice. The opening scene takes place in a Sicilian mad house, hundreds of years old, fortified with decaying stone. It is here that we first hear Riz Ortolani's amazing theme, a fuzz-tone guitar and a melancholy orchestra, and the ranting and moans of madmen. We see Captain Bonavia (Martin Balsam, who did dub his own voice) arrange for the release of LiPuma, a psychotic criminal obsessed with cleanliness who is no sooner free than he makes an attempt on the life of a gangster named D'Ambrosio, which results in the deaths of Lipuma and several of D'Ambrosio's thugs, but not D'Ambrosio. It is immediately hinted that Bonavia arranged for LiPuma's release for just this reason. The mystery here isn't who did what, but why he did it, and who you're supposed to root for: Captain Bonavia, the official made cynical and allegedly irresponsible by years on the job, who may or may not be motivated by graft, or DA Traini (Franco Nero), who investigates the attempt on D'Ambrosio's life. Traini is young and idealistic and immediately suspects Bonavia's involvement. Bonavia is fifty going on a hundred and mocks Traini at every turn as he fills him in on the history of a city built, literally, on corpses. Damiani underlines the similarities between these two men--does Traini embody the idealism Bonavia lost, are they both just stooges of a corrupt, ancient system--in subtle ways, and he, along with Balsam, builds Bonavia's character with equal aplomb. You can watch this film repeatedly and see these subtleties, equal credit for which must go to Balsam's performance, which is one of his best, which is saying a lot. Minor characters, like LiPuma and his hunted sister, Serena, come across with enough depth to exacerbate the tension. Riz Ortolani's score chimes in at just the right moments to intensify the drama, which is what this really is, a drama that grabs you by the guts. Damiani's ability to create this kind of film, angry and topical, anti-establishment, but so lived-in, it never feels forced, deserves greater recognition. This one, especially, should be required viewing, despite the fact that I've never seen it in any form other than a cheesy DVD that probably capitalized on public domain and is dubbed (it should be noted that the Italians dubbed most of their films, even the Italian versions, and were good at it) and has glitches that lead me to believe it was mastered from VHS. Don't avoid; the integrity of the film survives.
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9/10
30 years later things are even worse...
tuco7320 June 2008
Damiano Damiani was an excellent, not fully appreciated, movie director. Most of his works share to some extent the same commitment Francesco Rosi's highly regarded movies did. They may be less an artistic achievement for they probably didn't share the same originality in style, but they are equally effective in communicating and shaking the audience with messages of social and ethical nature. This particular one again (after the excellent "L'Istruttoria è chiusa: dimentichi" and before my favorite "Io ho Paura") deals with the impossibility of fighting for Justice: organized criminality and its higher level allied (politicians, ministers, judges, etc.) create an invincible corrupted system. In his movies usually the conclusion is a bitter one, not much is left to hope. This time though, a brave policeman (Martin Balsam) decides to break the rules in order to achieve the goal, while district attorney (Franco Nero) leave us with an open end and some hope... In today's Italian political and social panorama (Berlusconi is the prime minister...), Damiano Damiani would have probably lost also that little faith. Sad times indeed (great movie though!).
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10/10
Blew me away!!!
chriskooter2 March 2003
The other reviewer here is spot on , this is a fantastic film by any standards... Forget any prejudice you may have for imported or dubbed films (the main actors dub themselves) and enjoy this intelligent and intense movie. Damiani who directed the amazing 'Bullet for the General' is a fascinating and serious film maker and a real class act when on top form.. Add Franco Nero in a great performance and Martin Balsam, one of the finest character actors ever and you've got a little known classic.. I'm currently tracking down other 70's Damiani movies on the strength of this!!!
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10/10
Masterly cop drama
rundbauchdodo8 January 2001
This exceptional Italian crime drama not only presents an extremely plausible and thrilling plot, but also protagonists Franco Nero and Martin Balsam delivering their performances of their lives.

Director Damiani, best known for his mafia films (and maybe for "Amityville 2" which stands as his only horror film he ever directed), tells a gripping story about a frustrated police officer (Balsam) who decides to use illegal methods to get his hands on a criminal (probably a member of the mob - but the mafia is not an obvious topic in this film). But Balsam's character is rather tragic than villainous, so one really suffers with him when the district attorney (Nero) lays his hands on him. Nero's character too is not villainous at all, because he's just doing his job.

A powerful masterpiece, highly recommended and thoroughly impressive.
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10/10
A Fascinating Discovery
mag62us1 June 2003
This uncompromising look at power and corruption is fascinating. Although I had never heard of the film, the combination of cast, director, and subject matter piqued my curiosity, so I purchased a copy. I am glad I did. While this film is certainly not the most pleasant thing to watch, it does provide a daring insight into the corrupt world of crooked cops on the take and a mafia-controlled system which is frank and disturbing, and must have really been a shock to audiences in 1971. Fine performances and unflinching direction make this movie one which fans of the crime/cop-movie genre will not want to miss.
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7/10
Highly intense and intriguing Poliziesco film with a good cast who gives a fine performance
ma-cortes16 October 2012
"Confessione Di Un Commissario Polizia Al Procuratore Della Repubblica" , Italian original title , or "Confessions of a Police Captain" , USA title , results to be a nice cop/political thriller , being professionally filmed and rightly made . It's a hard boiled movie that packs a noir story , police procedural , intrigue , detective inquiries , and a final twist in the plot. It deals with a pair of proverbial honest men , a stiff ,idealistic judge (Franco Nero) and an upright cop (Martin Balsam) who contend dangerous enemies , but determined in their will to fight crime and corruption . Both of whom on the edge while investigate ties between the mob , the Mayor , councillors and Justice department . But ambition , blackmail , vendetta , kidnapping and decay reach everything and everybody .

This exciting and thought-provoking Italian cop thriller turns out to be one of the first and best films about the mafia . This heavy-going tale has an interesting and politically incorrect writing by the same director Damiano Damiani & Fulvio Gicca Palli and especially dealing with corruption interwoven between town councillors and Mafia . The picture displays action , thrills , disturbing issues , suspenseful , great visual style and is pretty entertaining , though sometimes is hard to follow . Excellent main cast as Martin Balsam as a rough-and-ready police inspector and Franco Nero as a deputy public prosecutor who attempts to prove that the architect in the city is in the mafia and holding a firm belief in the law and justice system . Both of them face on Mafia which the fight is hopeless . However Martin Balsam steals the show as a dedicated police captain what tries to wipe out the bureaucratic corruption that is infecting his city . Supporting cast is frankly magnificent such as Claudio Gora , Arturo Dominici , Giancarlo Priete or Timothy Brent , gorgeous Marilu Tolo and a brief intervention by Nello Pazzafini as a Prisoner . Colorful and appropriate cinematography by Claudio Ragona . Sensitive as well as thrilling musical score by Riz Ortolani who composed an enjoyable soundtrack in Ennio Morricone style .

The motion picture was well directed by Damiano Damiani . He's an expert on all kind of genres as Drama (¨Arthur's island¨ , ¨The Most Beautiful Wife" , ¨The witch¨ , and ¨Empty canvas¨ based on the Alberto Moravia novel) , Terror (Amytiville 2 : the possession) , Historical (¨The Inquiry¨) , Spaghetti Western (¨Trinity is back again¨and the prestigious ¨A bullet for the General¨) . Damiani was specialized on crime-thriller-Subgenre or Italian cop thriller ( ¨How to kill a judge¨, ¨The case is closed , forget it¨, "Goodbye e amen" , ¨Mafia¨, "I Am Afraid" and ¨Warning¨ also starred by Martin Balsam) . ¨Confessions of a Police captain¨ seems to be a ¨must see¨ for the Poliziesco fans . This is one of the crowns of the Italian Poliziotteschi (police thrillers) of the 1970s , along with other films directed by Enzo G . Castellari , Ferdinando Baldi or Umberto Lenzi . Rating : Better than average . Essential and indispensable watching , this highly recommended film is the same for the Italian "mafia-film" of that period.
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8/10
Very well done Italian cop drama
The_Void10 March 2008
I'm a big fan of Italian cop flicks, but Confessions of a Police Captain actually doesn't contain many of the things that I love this type of movie for. Damiano Damiani's film is an early example of the Polizi flick and has the rare accolade of not following on the heels of Don Siegel's masterpiece Dirty Harry. The film is a rather more sober affair than what I'm used to from this sort of film and doesn't feature the things such as car chases, gun fights and fistfights that other films in this genre feature in droves; but this is made up for by the fact that the director has created a stylish and interesting film that flows well throughout. The plot focuses largely on the mafia that run Italy over and above the law. Our two central characters are Commissioner Bonavia and District Attorney Traini who are investigating mafia occurrences in the city. The plot begins with an attempt on a man's life, and the man later turns out to be D'Ambrosio; a man high up within the mafia. The two law enforcers appear to be on the same page in fighting the crime in the city...

Damiano Damiani was apparently quite a prolific crime film director in the seventies; although the only film I'd seen from him prior to this one was the abysmal Amityville II. It's clear that he has a real flair for this sort of film, however, as Confessions of a Police Captain is perfectly pitched and very professionally done. The fact that the film doesn't feature the things that usually make these films exciting may be a hindrance for some people, but in my opinion; the film has more than enough going for it elsewhere. The two central performances are one of the film's strongest elements. American actor Martin Balsam is fantastic as the police commissioner, but even better than him is Franco Nero as the district attorney. I've seen a lot of Franco Nero films and every time I see him, I become more impressed. He's a very versatile actor who seems to be able to play just about any role and once again he gives a fantastic lead performance. The commentary on justice is well thought, although I have to admit that I wasn't keen on the ambiguous ending. Overall, this is at the very top of Italian cop flicks; while it doesn't fit in with some of the better known examples, it's hard to deny that it is a gem of a movie.
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8/10
This is how to make a movie
actionpro5 August 2003
Boom! Awesome, flawless movie. Doesn't get much better than this movie. Balsam's performance is so divine that it gives me goosebumps to this date. Highly recommended if you can find it. The pace is perfect...not too slow, not too fast. It unfolds wonderfully.
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Superlative Italian crime thriller
lazarillo29 March 2008
It's ironic that director Damiano Damiani is most famous today for "The Amityville Horror 2", which is somewhat underrated, but no one's idea of a great movie. He has actually made any number of films in many different genres, including at least four superlative ones I've seen in just the last year: "A Bullet for the General", "The Most Beautiful Wife", "How to Kill a Judge" and this one. This is a typical Italian police thriller in some ways, but rather than focusing solely on shoot-outs and high-speed car chases, it is more of a character study of two law enforcement agents, trying to do the right thing while fighting massive high-level corruption, but in very different ways. Martin Balsam is a the titular police captain who is willing to bend the law to go after a corrupt industrial cartel leader. For instance, he gets a sworn enemy of the man and the brother of the man's mistress released from a mental institution to allow him make an assassination attempt on the crooked industrialist. Franco Nero, on the other hand, plays the by-the-book district attorney who's torn between fighting the "corruption" of the police captain and the far more pervasive high-level corruption all around him. The two eventually form an uneasy alliance.

An American film would definitely come down in favor of one man or the other (most likely the vigilante police captain), but this film is not afraid to leave the whole matter morally ambiguous. It is also pretty pessimistic in tone, as things don't work out too well for either of them. Balsam and Nero are both great (the latter was also in Damiano's "How to Kill a Judge"). Marilu Tolo (who plays the mistress) is the only other real name actor. She was kind of an enigmatic actress, probably the most Sicilian-looking actress of her era (it's hard to believe she and the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nero are from the same country). She has a much smaller role than the two men, but still manages to transcend the usual "nice piece" mold women were usually cast in in these types of films.

Unfortunately, this is currently available only as a VERY crappy-looking public domain flick on "The Grindhouse Collection Volume 1" DVD set. (The most low-rent bootlegger would be ashamed to sell a customer a DVD-R of a video in as bad of shape and as badly ported as this one). Still if you think the price is right on the whole set or you find it from another source, this is definitely a movie I would recommend to poliziani fans or anybody else.
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10/10
Tense, Intelligent and Hugely Compelling Mafia Film by Damiano Damiani
Witchfinder-General-66622 October 2009
Best known for his mafia films as well as the sublime Western "A Bullet for the General" (1968), Damiano Damiani doubtlessly ranks among the great directors from the golden era of Italian genre-cinema. And "Confessione Di Un Commissario Di Polizia Al Procuratore Della Republica" aka. "Confession of a Police Comissioner to the District Attorney" of 1971 is doubtlessly one of the man's most remarkable achievements. Unlike the work of other greats of Italian crime/police cinema, such as Fernando Di Leo and Umberto Lenzi, Damiani's mafia films do not so much rely on stylized action and gritty violence, but try to explore the structures of the mafia and the corruption of legal authorities. This gem does so in a most brilliant manner.

Every cult-cinema fan's favorite actor Franco Nero plays a young and idealistic prosecutor who is as determined in his will to fight crime and corruption as his firm belief in the law and justice system is unbreakable. When he comes to crime-stronghold Palermo he encounters the aging Police Detective Comissario Buonavia (Martin Balsam), a cop whose ideals and beliefs go beyond his obedience to the law... The film has many qualities, one of the most obvious ones being the acting. Both leading men are nothing short of brilliance in their roles. Franco Nero is magnificent as ever in the role of the devoted man of the law, and Martin Balsam truly shines as the equally idealistic, rough-and-ready cop. Both men seem to be strict followers of their ideals, doing what they believe is right. Yet, there is a mutual distrust between them. The great late Luciano Catenacci is sublime in the role of the slick Mafia Don. Catenacci, one of the greatest regulars in Italian cult-cinema blessed many great films with his presence, including Mario Bava's Gothic masterpiece "Operazione Paura" ("Kill Baby... Kill!", 1966), Umberto Lenzi's hard-boiled Poliziottesco "Milano Odia: La Polizia Non Può Sparare" ("Almost Human", 1974), and this great film. Sadly, this great actor, who mostly played criminals, passed away far too young in 1990. Lovers of Italian cinema will always remember him for his great performances in mostly dubious or thuggish roles. Character actor Claudio Gora gives another memorable performance as the district attorney general.

"Confessione Di Un Commissario..." is a film with a great story, and the tense plot is perfectly executed. As most of Damiani's films, "Confessione..." is a very political film that uncompromisingly depicts power-structures, corruption and the influence of organized crime on politicians and institutions. But primarily, it is a very suspenseful and highly intense cinematic experience. The tension is underlined by a great visual style and insanely brilliant score by maestro Riz Ortolani. Among fans of Italian crime cinema, some prefer the testosterone-driven excitement of the work of Umberto Lenzi or Enzo Castellari while others love the more intellectual thrills of Damiano Damiani's gems. Personally, I can only say that I'm a huge fan of both. "Confessions of a Police Comissioner..." is a film that should appeal to fans of gritty cult cinema and lovers of subtle suspense alike, and, personally, I could not come up with a single negative aspect about this film, which enjoys a more than justified cult-status. A masterpiece. For fans of Italian genre-cinema, missing it would be a crime.
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7/10
CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN (Damiano Damiani, 1971) ***
Bunuel197617 November 2006
As was the case with L'ISTRUTTORIA E' CHIUSA: DIMENTICHI (1971), this too proved different to what I had been anticipating - as Martin Balsam is the nominal police-officer hero, while lead Franco Nero is merely an investigating magistrate! When Balsam is bumped off, the film follows Nero's actions but ends on an ambiguous open-ended note. However, Balsam is excellent as the unorthodox and determined Commissioner; Nero, on the other hand, occasionally overacts as the flustered State representative. Marilu' Tolo has a small but pivotal role, and her death sequence is particularly mean.

Despite the poliziottesco ambiance, it's far less action-oriented than usual but all the more classy and compelling for this reason; still, when action is required by the narrative, the film rises to the occasion. The complex plot (involving Balsam's backstory told in intermittent flashbacks) takes some effort to follow, but the rewards are reaped eventually. As usual for this sort of film, Riz Ortolani's score is a notable asset. By the way, not only is the surname of Nero's superior, a judge, Malta but other surnames here - such as Bonavia (Balsam's character) and Rizzo - are also typically Maltese!
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10/10
TCM should air this film
jameselliot-19 April 2011
This is a gritty, melancholy police drama that was very different from the poliziottesco of the 70s, directed by Damiani in a way that tells its grim story without the usual pyrotechnics and flashy physical action of that genre. It's a longtime favorite of mine. Whereas the great Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion veers into fantasy and a giallo-flavored eroticism, the chain of events in this picture is very realistic; when I first saw it, on TV, I thought that this could have happened. The interplay between Nero and Balsam is totally believable and gripping. No extraneous subplots derail the story. The Riz Ortolani score truly piles on the mood of tragedy and hopelessness in the destructive wake of uncontrollable social evils, the utter impotency of the law and political/business corruption. Underrated and ignored. It's ripe for a class-act DVD release since American TV has long since abandoned airing Italian films.
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7/10
Don't let the fact this keeps showing up in the bargain bin turn you off, its an excellent little thriller
dbborroughs30 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This would have played the grindhouse circuit mostly because its a dubbed Italian crime drama.

Story of a police captain/commissioner who is trying to fight mafia infiltration into government using unorthodox methods (he springs one mafia leaders enemy from an insane asylum in the hope he'll tray to kill his foe) who gets hooked up with a prosecutor trying to do the same thing. The plot is much more complicated than that but that should be enough to get you started.

This is an excellent little thriller that unjustly has been made to seem as if its pure trash film instead of the griping crime drama it is. I really liked this film a great deal and really want to make an effort to see it again simply because I was watching it much too late to properly enjoy the film and give it its due.

Definitely worth a shot-more so since its floating around in the discount bins for as little as a buck.
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8/10
Great proto-Euro Crime film
Bezenby21 October 2017
This film starts with Palermo's Police Captain, Martin Balsam, arranging the release of a known criminal from an insane asylum and calmly watches on as the man purchases a machine gun, dresses up as a cop, and heads off to the office of a local crime boss/building merchant, resulting in a bloodbath with four dead bodies. The mafia boss however seemed to have got wind of this and wasn't around for the gunfight.

Franco Nero then turns up as a new district attorney who is out to play by the rules and get to the bottom of what happened - Who alerted the mafia boss that the guy was out of the loony bin? Who arranged for the guy to be released in the first place? Franco the D.A doesn't trust Balsam the cop, and various interviews with the mafia boss and others suggests that Franco is on the mafia payroll or Balsam was paid to release the prisoner to kill the mafia boss by rival mafia gangs.

The two form a very uneasy alliance where Balsam suggest that most of the municipal staff of Palermo are on the mafia payroll and explains his reason for using unorthodox methods is because the mafia boss and himself grew up in a village years ago and the mafia boss shot a guy protesting about the terrible wages the mafia were paying quarry workers (played by Giancarlo Prete in a very good cameo). Nero retorts by saying he knows Balsam withdrew two million lira from an account at the same time, but will he believe that he used that to find Prete's mafia murdered body? Although this film is long and low on action, it's easy to get drawn in by the acting of the two leads. It's rarer still to see Franco Nero get acted off the screen, but that's what happens here. You might know Martin Balsam as the cop from Psycho or Alan Arkin's superior officer in Catch 22, but here we get the full spectrum of acting. He's hard skinned and efficient as a cop, but prone to showing mercy to folk who have acted stupidly, and is kind to his colleagues, even those on the mafia payroll. Wherever he goes in this film he's pushed to the absolute limit, so the bitter sweet smile on his face as a full room of mafia staff are laughing at him is priceless. And he one-ups that scene later on. Beautiful.

Only negatives are Franco Nero doesn't dub his own voice (even though he speaks fluent English) and Popflix present this in full screen, but I'll say what I always say - best to see the film in any form rather than not at all!
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7/10
Watch it for Balsam
Leofwine_draca26 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This Italian crime drama from director Damiano Damiani is a very well directed film; throughout his long career, Damiani has succeeded in making classy films (with the exception of AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION) and this one is no exception. However, it isn't an action film at all, so those looking for gun and fist-fights should look elsewhere. Things kick off with a criminal being released from an asylum; his immediate action is to go gunning for a crime boss who duped him. There's a brief, expertly directed shoot-out, and then the police procedural story of corruption and racketeering really begins.

Instead of action, Damiani delivers us a character-focused drama that's presided over by the larger-than-life Martin Balsam as a corrupt police captain. Balsam makes this film work; rather than being presented as a villain, he's a sympathetic character and his minimalist performance really works here. Playing a totally unflappable captain – he doesn't even blanch when presented with evidence of his crimes – he really makes the viewer identify with his aims and methods and Balsam is superb throughout.

The film is rather lengthy and slow-paced, and it's more about acting and plot than anything else. Damiani's photography is excellent and the film has a polished veneer to it. Unusually, Franco Nero is present, but as a supporting role rather than a leading character; he's okay, but in comparison to Balsam, he seems wooden, overdoing it. The rest of the cast is filled by hard-faced actors playing various lowlifes, and they're all very effective. The beautiful Marilu Tolo puts in a notable performance as a woman caught up in the mess.

Full of some very memorable scenes – the shoot-out, the striking builder lying in his own blood, the ending in the prison – this is a genuinely good film; a little slow and lacking in action for my liking, but with good technical qualities and a nice score from Riz Ortolani, the guy who did the music in the infamous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. In the end, though, it's Martin Balsam who makes this film so good.
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8/10
A neat little Italian crime drama
Woodyanders28 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Honest, dedicated Commissioner Bonavia (superbly played by Martin Balsam) risks both his life and career in order to arrest wily, powerful and evasive mobster Ferdinando D'Ambrosio (a marvelously slimy portrayal by Luciano Catenacci). Bonavia clashes with shrewd, smooth and by-the-book young district attorney Traini (the always fine Franco Nero) over the questionable methods he uses to nab D'Ambrosio. Director Damiano Damiani, who also co-wrote the sharp, complex and intriguing script with Salvatore Laurani, relates the absorbing story at a steady pace and does an expert job of maintaining a serious and gritty tone throughout. The uniformly sound acting from a tip-top cast rates as another substantial plus: Balsam and Nero both excel in their meaty roles, with fine support from Marilu Tolo as D'Ambrosio's frightened old flame Serena LiPuma, Giancarlo Prete as gutsy union organizer Rizzo, Claudio Gora as crooked attorney general Judge Malta, Arturo Dominici as shifty mafia shyster lawyer Canistraro, and Adolfo Lastretti as dangerous, unhinged hoodlum LiPuma. Both Riz Ortolani's moody, melodic score and Claudio Ragona's polished cinematography are up to speed. The potent central message about pervasive corruption and travesties of justice packs one hell of a strong punch. Moreover, the film's tough, no-nonsense sensibility stays grimly true to itself to the literal bitter end. Those expecting your usual nasty and sleazy shoot 'em up action picture will be disappointed, but fans of more demanding and complicated fare should appreciate this admirably ambitious and intelligent character study of two radically contrasting law enforcers. Well worth a look.
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6/10
Interesting Grindhouse gem
lastliberal2 August 2007
Damiano Damiani (Amityville 2) has written and directed a lot of films that deal with the Maafia and police, and this is certainly one of the best.

Martin Balsam (A Thosand Clowns, Raid on Entebbe) gives fine performance as a police Captain who decides that the courts are not effective in stopping crime and takes matters into his own hands. (I seem to remember a Dirty Harry movie along those lines) Franco Nero (Camelot) was fascinating as the District Attorney trying to piece together what happened after Balsam is killed in jail. He soon comes to realize that Balsam was right and that he would be ineffective in prosecuting the Mafia.

This is an Italian film, ostensibly filmed there, but I can't verify it. One reviewer said the surnames seemed to be Maltese, so maybe it was shot there. The location is what interested me as my Grandfather comes from a little village outside Palermo.

Despite the initial interest based on location, I was rewarded with a fascinating film.

The film also features Mediterranean beauty Marilù Tolo (Greek Tycoon, Bluebeard), who gives us a brief glimpse of why she is so popular.
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7/10
A cut above
jadavix3 March 2019
"Confessions of a Police Captain" is a Poliziotteschi movie with the original Django himself, Franco Nero. This subgenre of Italian film is generally boring and incomprehensible. "Confessions" is powerfully directed in scenes, keeping your attention, so it is not really boring, though it is still hard to follow in places.

At least I got the central premise, which is more than I can say for most Poliziotteschi. The titular "police captain" lets a madman out of jail so that he can kill some guy the captain wants dead. Nero investigates.

In a shocking scene, a child is murdered, thrown to his death off the side of the cliff.

"Confessions of a Police Captain" has two characters who actually make an impression on the viewer: Nero's straight arrow investigator, and the crooked captain. I have often found that you don't need to understand every detail in a movie to appreciate it, so long as you understand the characters' basic motivations. "Confessions of a Police Captain" is a good example of that. It's a superior Poliziotteschi film.
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8/10
Everlasting fight between Utupian and the Realistic!!
elo-equipamentos4 January 2018
A crude vision of rotten and collapsed society by Damiani, where he describes through an old and seasoned cop who are in clash with a young public prosecutor around corruption on political agents in property speculation, each one has a point of veiw, the cop has a realist and prosecutor read under the law, one them will see how the wheels turns, anyway a consistent and solid movie about power and justice in two different perspectives!! Franco Nero and Martin Balsan were in great shape in a stunning performance, highly recommended!!

Resume:

First watch: 1993 / How many: 2 / Source: TV-DVD / Rating: 8.5
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7/10
An Italian Take on the Mafia
gavin69422 December 2010
A man in a police uniform kills four people at a construction site. The construction boss gets away... and both are wanted by the police, as the construction guy is known to be a killer who buries bodies inside the cement walls of his work. How do the police captain and district attorney play into this? The film was written and directed by Damiano Damiani, who would go on to make "Amityville 2". It hardly captures his full directing talents. But it is what it is: a police exploitation film.

Of course, as far as exploitation films go, this one is pretty tame. No torture to animals, no assaulted women (almost no women at all). This is actually no more subversive than "Dirty Harry" or other police thrillers.

There is some strange recurring theme about homosexuality in this film. A district attorney is accused of being gay and corrupting minors (it is implied he touches boys). There are two guys dressed very flamboyantly chased down by state police. I am not sure what Italy's take on homosexuality was, but it plays an interesting part in this film that would not be able to work if redone today.

This movie is actually pretty good, and one of the better films available in the Grindhouse Experience box set. I would recommend it, and hope that some day it gets a decent cleanup job. Its only real failing is that it ends rather abruptly.
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7/10
As bleak as I Am Afraid
PimpinAinttEasy16 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
My third DAMIANO DAMIANI film (I had watched THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WIFE and I AM AFRAID before this). It is a bleak Italian crime drama. Commissioner Bonavia (a really tough as nails MARTIN BALSAM) arrives at a mental institution and helps free a patient. A few days after his release, the patient tries to kill a famous builder but the builder's henchmen are already waiting for him and a bloody shootout ensues. Deputy district attorney Traini (Franco Nero) investigates the shootout and feels that commissioner Bonavia is not telling him the whole truth. His investigations lead him into the corrupt world of the Italian building mafia. I liked how the film is built up with commisioner Bonavia as the villain but there is a twist at the end and it turns out that Bonavia is actually a cynical guy who is tired of bringing the mafia to book using legal means. So he tries to destroy them through his own methods. After he murders the builder himself, he ends up in jail. There is a great scene in jail when he is stabbed and he barely makes it into a prison movie screening and everyone ignores him because they are all laughing at the comedy film on screen while a man dies in their midst.

The film could have been a lot leaner if some of the sub plots had been avoided. There is one involving the sister (the beautiful MARILU TOLO used as a sex object) of the mental patient. It is a film where you have to pay close attention to understand what is really going on.

The fantastic fatalistic background score by Riz Ortolani full of melodic electronic guitar and violins, is put to great use. I had watched BALSAM as a gay man in THE ANDERSON TAPES and he is terrific in this film. Apparently the role was first offered to BEN GAZZARA. This film is as bleak as I AM AFRAID in its depiction of the unassailable link between the mafia and the justice system in Italy.

(7/10)
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5/10
A bit disappointing!
JohnHowardReid21 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the often inventive use of real locations, and the much better dubbing than average for the English language version (Balsam was obviously speaking in English on the set) and a few good sparks of action, this is a somewhat disappointing movie.

For one thing, it lacks a real climax. In fact, the biggest action spot is right at the very beginning! Instead of action, the movie is very dialogue bound.

The plot also disappoints. It's that well-used one, detailing Mafia infiltration into the construction industry.

Fortunately, the acting is forceful enough to maintain a fair amount of audience interest, and the plot actually does have one or two welcome twists.
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4/10
He's cut the red tape and left it full of bullet holes...
JasparLamarCrabb6 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
There's some great acting in Damiano Damiani's police thriller but precious little action. District attorney Franco Nero slowly (too slowly) realizes that police captain Martin Balsam is a corrupt lunatic out to squash anyone who stands in his way as he tries to eliminate Mafioso Luciano Catenacci. Drawn out as opposed to complex, the film nevertheless has plenty to recommend. Balsam is excellent and well matched by the idealistic Nero. Marilu Tolo is very good as Catenacci's doomed girlfriend. The pulse-pounding music is by Riz Ortolani and is at times more exciting than the movie actually is. The US version of the film suffers from some not-so-great dubbing and dulls Nero's performance.
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