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David Raybourne is an American journalist covering political news in Italy during the 1970's. He is involved with the Red Brigades when trying to help a friend (Alison King), who photographed them in action and discovers the mafia net is at all levels.Written by
Michel Rudoy <email@example.com>
The Red Brigade ( Brigatte Rosse ) was an Italian left wing terrorist organisation that in the 1970s launched a terrorist campaign to over throw the government of Italy and in its place have proletarian dictatorship that would lead to a classless Utopian society . Like its idealogical counterparts in the German Red Army Faction Brigatte Rosse had a problem mobilising the masses . This was undoubtedly due to the fact that hard left wing intellectualism fails to strike a chord in the human condition . Compare this to nationalist instincts that makes people in Northern Ireland want to join the IRA or the UVF or people living in the Gaza Strip or West Bank who join hard line Islamic terrorist organisations . By one of life's ironies the idea of left wing revolution in a democratic European state fails to appeal to few people except left wing middle class intellectuals hence the masses of Germany and Italy fail to mobilise and the terror caused by the German RAF and Italian BR quickly fizzled out
YEAR OF THE GUN starts off by telling the audience that Italy in 1978 was on the brink of revolutian but was it ? True there was shootings and bombings and angry demonstrations against capitalism but as a potential revolution France in 1968 and Northern Ireland in the early 1970s both came closer than Italy in the late 1970s . As the story progresses the audience finds itself becoming more and more clueless to the situation at the time . Why are demonstrators flying red banners fighting with well dressed young men carrying crowbars ? You see the story soon starts ignoring Italian geo-politics and concentrates on the character of David Raybourne an American who has lived in America for several years and is in a loving relationship with an Italian woman . In fact there's so much time taken up with David's relationship you find your self looking at your watch wondering when something is going to happen
There's two problems with the story , or rather one problem with the plot and one problem with the story telling . The plot when you stop to examine it becomes faintly ridiculous . David is writing a novel revolving around the Red Brigade and by an unlikely series of events the terrorists jump to the conclusion that he's a spy because the kidnap target in his novel is someone in real life the Red Brigade are planning to kidnap . I guess you're not supposed to think about this too much but aren't political thrillers supposed to be thought provoking ? The story telling itself is very poor because when Italian characters ( Who are almost always Red Brigade members ) get together they start speaking in Italian . Okay this is logical because for some reason in the cinematic world foreign characters suddenly start speaking in English when there's no English speaking characters present . Only problem is there's no subtitles and these frequent Italian speaking scenes mean any non Italian speaker won't have a clue as to what's going on which is a pity because I was wondering why the female terrorist likes to have men watch her when she goes to the toilet ! No I'm not kidding , there's a scene where this happens
John Frankenheimer was once a highly regarded director who made THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE , BLACK Sunday and SECONDS and who would later make the highly entertaining RONIN . Unfortunately at this stage of his career he was making rubbish like the ecological horror movie PROPHECY and Marlon Brandos swan song that featured a bunch of genetically engineered mammals having acid house parties and shooting each other ( You know the movie I'm talking about ) and in terms of directing this is no different except perhaps that it resembles a TVM in standards . The sound mix is rather poor too A messy political thriller that won't educate you about 1970s European politics and almost certainly won't thrill you much either
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