It's been called DOG DAY AFTERNOON all'Italiana; that's as good a point of reference as any for this stranger-than-fiction true story of a soft-hearted con who accidentally shoots his way into a tense and slightly absurd hostage situation. It's 1973,
and as the rest of the world still reels from the tumult of the '60s (nicely evoked through a newsreel montage), chaos erupts behind the walls of an Italian prison. Five years into his 22 year sentence for bank robbery, Horst Fantazzini (Stefano Accorsi), dubbed the "Gentleman Bandit" by virtue of
his courteous on-the-job manner, decides he's had enough of life inside the relatively lax Piedmonte prison. Early one June morning, Fantazzini pulls a gun and unintentionally wounds two guards; less than an hour later, a frightened Fantazzini's holed up in the prison director's office, holding
two other guards (Emilio Solfrizzi, Giovanni Espostio) hostage and half-heartedly making wild demands. As police frantically search Italy's resort beaches for the prison's vacationing director (Antonio Petrocelli), a zero-tolerance colonel eager to set an example surrounds the prison with snipers
and waits for the Gentleman Bandit to make a move. Like DOG DAY AFTERNOON, this film — briskly directed by screenwriter Enzo Monteleone (who wrote the Oscar-winning MEDITERRANEO and Carlos Saura's OUTRAGE) features unusually complex characterizations for what is essentially a comedy.
The lovelorn bitterness of Fantazzini's estranged wife (Fabrizia Sacchi), Fantazzini's shaky relationship with his father (Francesco Guccini), a famous anarchist, and the disgruntled hostages who harbor considerable class resentment against the prison officials all help ground the loopy plot in
hard social and emotional realities. Best of all is Petrocelli as the avuncular, philosophical prison director, who makes the startling observation that due to continual cellular regeneration, the body incarcerated in a prison is, after a while, no longer the body originally convicted of the
crime. Smart stuff.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1999
- Rating: NR
- Review: It's been called DOG DAY AFTERNOON all'Italiana; that's as good a point of reference as any for this stranger-than-fiction true story of a soft-hearted con who accidentally shoots his way into a tense and slightly absurd hostage situation. It's 1973, and… (more)