Showing @ Cineworld, Glasgow, Fri 21 & Sat 22 Feb

Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza / Italy/France / 2013 / 104 mins

More frequently, there is a need to turn away from the taste of the American hit-man movie. All sequels all the time. It’s a shame that début directors Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza can’t capitalise on this, with a fascinatingly Melvillesque – but potholed – story of a Mafioso bodyguard in Sicily. The titular assassin (Saleh Bakri) survives an attack from another gangster family and sets out to seek revenge, but in the process falls in love with his assailant’s blind sister, Rita (Sara Serraiocco). He kidnaps and secludes her, much to the fury of the boss man, and is forced to ultimately decide who is more important.

There is much to be studied in the cinematography and direction of Salvo: third-person, over the shoulder shooting gives menace, tension and mood to the whole film. We experience it almost as if we were playing it as a video game. And yet, because of the huge gaps in the story, the fact that the characters don’t gel and the questionable honesty of the performances to say the least, it ultimately becomes a dull and lifeless thriller. The contrast of beautiful landscapes, from the scrambling Italian side-streets to the rhythmic ocean waves, mirror that of Salvo’s paradoxical life as a desperado and gentle romantic, but there is little more to be enjoyed here.

Showing as part of the Glasgow Film Festival 2014