Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Italian: Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto) is a 1970 Italian crime drama film directed by Elio Petri. It is a dramatic, psychological, black-humored satire on corruption in high office, telling the story of a top police officer who kills his mistress, and then tests whether the police would charge him for this crime. He begins manipulating the investigation by planting obvious clues while the other police officers ignore them, either intentionally or not. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
|Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion|
Italian film poster
|Directed by||Elio Petri|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Edited by||Ruggero Mastroianni|
|Distributed by||Euro International Film (Italy)|
Columbia Pictures (US)
|Box office||₤1.928 billion|
A recently promoted police inspector (Gian Maria Volonté) kills his mistress (Florinda Bolkan), and then covers up his involvement in the crime. He insinuates himself into the investigation, planting clues to steer his subordinate officers toward a series of other suspects, including the woman's gay husband and a student leftist radical. He then exonerates the other suspects and leads the investigators toward him to prove that he is "above suspicion" and can get away with anything, even while being investigated. In the end, he confesses to the crime in front of his superiors - who refuse to believe him. Sure that he is safe, he recants his confession, and receives the approval of the police commissioner.
|Gian Maria Volonté||Police Inspector|
|Florinda Bolkan||Augusta Terzi|
|Gianni Santuccio||Police Commissioner|
|Sergio Tramonti||Antonio Pace|
|Aldo Rendine||Nicola Panunzio|
|Massimo Foschi||Augusta's Husband|
|Aleka Paizi||Inspector's Maid|
|Pino Patti||Head of wire-tapping office|
|Filippo De Gara||Policeman|
|Fulvio Grimaldi||Paese Sera journalist|
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion was released in Italy on February 9, 1970 where it was distributed by Euro International Film. In Italy, the film had a domestic gross of 1,928,248,000 Italian lire.
The film was highly regarded in its own time, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and both the FIPRESCI Prize and the Grand Prize at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival. Also it won as Best Foreign Language Film at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 1971 and the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Mystery Screenplay.
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion was well received by critics and is widely considered one of the best international films of the 1970s. The New York Times called the film "a suspense melodrama with the moral concerns of angry satire [...] When it opened in Italy early this year (and later, when it was shown at Cannes), Investigation was hailed for the ways in which it exposed the corrupt, authoritarian practices of the police, who place themselves above their own laws [...] The story moves forward with a relentless momentum. It is a political parable, and a stunning movie."
The film currently has a Rotten Tomatoes approval of 100% based on 12 reviews (with an average score of 8.05/10) and its re-release has a Metacritic score of 89 based on 10 reviews. David Fear of Time Out called it "[a] paranoid police procedural, a perverse parable about the corrupting elements of power, and a candidate for the greatest predated Patriot Act movie ever [...]". Kenneth Turan called the film "as troubling today as when it came out in 1970. Maybe more so."
Unmade American RemakeEdit
The Cannon Group had hoped to remake the original film with Andrei Konchalovsky attached to direct. Paul Schrader was attached to write, as he wrote both a story treatment and a screenplay. It was going to have either both Al Pacino or Christopher Walken to star in the remake. Originally, Cannon released an ad, planning to shoot in October 1987, and having it premiere it at Cannes in 1988, although it never got made as it was shelved. It remained shelved until in the 90s, when it was resurrected by Jodie Foster's production company Egg Pictures. Sidney Lumet was attached to direct, but the film never made it beyond pre-production.
- Weber, Bill. "Blu-ray Review: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion". www.slantmagazine.com. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
- Curti 2013, p. 39.
- "The 43rd Academy Awards (1971) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- "Festival de Cannes: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- Canby, Vincent (1970-12-21). "Film: 'Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion':Suspense Melodrama Opens at Baronet". The New York Times.
- Cannon: Alterd/Unproduced Projects
- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion at Metacritic
- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion on IMDb
- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion at AllMovie
- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion at Rotten Tomatoes
- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion: The Long Harm of the Law an essay by Evan Calder Williams at the Criterion Collection