Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: Violent City - 1970

Violent City
Aka: The Family
Director: Sergio Sollima

Carles Bronson is the contract killer Jeff Heston. He has been deceived and left to die in his own blood. But he survives and craves revenge! He tracks down those he considers to be guilty of the treason against him. He also encounters Weber, portrayed by Telly Savalas, who wants Heston to be part of his criminal organization. Heston declines the offer but no one turns down such an offer from Weber and lives to tell about it. The plot thickens and soon he’s entangled in a series of events where the plans architect is kept a secret.

It was a long time since I saw a film with one of my favorite actors Charles Bronson in a leading role. Instantly I realize that I’ve missed seeing he films and that I need to re-watch the films I’ve already seen over the years and also to see more of those that I haven’t seen before. There´s a car chase scene that´s typical for the seventies and it’s very nicely shot! The cinematography makes it kind of exciting. It has the European feel to it and I love it. The next scene makes me think of classic western shoot out and I love it!

Charles Bronson was one of the big names in European film during the seventies and it’s such a pleasure to see him act together with his wife Jill Ireland which he frequently did! There’s real chemistry between them that cannot be faked. Something that bothers me a bit is that some of the scenes are only available in Italian. I guess the English sound has been deleted years ago during some editing or censorship. I guess it’s better to have them in Italian than not at all of course! Especially since the absence of these scenes would mean that the film would be a total disaster and impossible to understand. In other words, it’s annoying but essentially to make some sense out of the storyline.  

I think that Telly Savalas does a great job here too. His mafia boss character is magnificent! When Heston (Bronson) starts to get tormented by his own conscious, remorse and sentiment Weber (Savalas) equals this out with the attitude of someone in a powerful position. There’s some doubt about which one of them that’s really behind the plans. Who is a pawn and who’s really in charge of the events? Perhaps this is a little too obvious but since the score is written by Morricone – who cares?

As a whole this might not be a masterpiece but as a fan of Bronson flicks I like it! You get what’s expected from Charles Bronson and Telly Savalas, Jill Ireland is as beautiful as usual and that can’t make any film worse. She even shows us a bit of skin in a couple of scenes. That can’t be a bad thing!