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As a classic tale of crime and punishment this Italian cop thriller keeps you entertained with polished direction and a pulsating synth score though the final act underwhelms.

Modern day Milan - filled with corrupt cops and Far-East robbers, it seems - proves an intriguing setting for a film that classily regurgitates the ambiguous eighties thriller style and in its choice of camerawork and lighting owes more than one debt to Michael Mann.

The antihero of the tale is Franco Amore, about to retire after 35 years of service, who is lured into a Chinese diamond deal that sees his best friend in the force end up dead. He then desperately tries to salvage something - his family, his reputation, maybe even financial windfall - from the sudden wreckage that his life threatens to become.

The lack of originality in the script is mostly made up by an excellent central performance by veteran Pierfrancesco Favino, who grounds Amore in a credible reality, even when the dialogue is needlessly shouty or the drama is heightened a fair bit beyond the plausible.

Kudos as well to director Andrea Di Stefano, who has style in abundance - as evidenced from the get-go by a long drone shot over the city - and to Santi Pulvirenti, whose synthesizer musical score fits well with the story.

What L'Ultima Notte di Amore offers in style it lacks in substance unfortunately, as the film's moral conundrums aren't answered with satisfying emotional solutions. As a tribute to eighties thrillers the picture succeeds, as a movie that lingers in the mind itself not quite enough.

release: 2023

director: Andrea Di Stefano

starring: Pierfrancesco Favino, Linda Caridi, Antonio Gerardi, Francesco Di Leva


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