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La Scorta Review

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A particularly successful prosecutor is assassinated in Italy, so when a new judge (Cecchi) takes over he understandably hires a new group of bodyguards. Adamant to find the previous lawyer's killers, the new prosecutor uses his bodyguards to try and find evidence on the town's mafia.

★★★★★

A fictionalised synthesis of many recent Italian headlines, this finds a gripping, even uplifting, human story inside its depiction of oppressive and omnipresent evil. When a mafia-busting Sicilian prosecutor is gunned down along with his "scorta" (bodyguard), an even more determined judge (Cecchi) takes his place and goes after the local mafia boss. While the solemn, stern Cecchi comes on like a man-of-integrity movie hero, the film is actually about his team of bodyguards.

Andrea (Lo Verso) is the goateed, cautious senior man, while the thuggish-looking Angelo (Amendola) is his angry, sometimes violent number two, bringing a personal grudge to work. The squad is filled out by Fabio (Ricky Memphis), a callow youth who wants a safer job, and Raffaele (Tony Sperandeo), a nice guy with a slight criminal streak. On the assumption that everyone in the police department and local politics is deeply corrupt, Cecchi starts assigning unorthodox duties to his scorta, using them to make a case against the mob, and the unseen villains strike back with threats, assassination attempts and high-level string-pulling.

A thriller which makes the audience flinch every time a car door opens, this takes in the personal lives of cops under stress while painting a picture of a few honest souls struggling in a mire of corruption, the script cleverly getting inside the lives of those willing to put up with such dangers. Featuring a strong cast, the film slips in enough personal stuff about its heroes to make the inevitable outburst of violence truly upsetting. The finale is sourly pessimistic, as Tognazzi pulls off a bravura tracking shot through a police station which reveals the extent of the network of corruption.

An exciting thriller about lawyers and murderers, for once without the involvement of John Grisham. Tognazzi directs with vigour and excitement, with enjoyable performances from the bodyguards and loosely based on real events makes it all the more exciting.

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