Angels Of Evil Review

Film Still
  • Angels Of Evil film still


Works as a straight up guns-and-money flick, but its clichés fail to involve us in the myth that is the Angel of Evil.

If the aim of a gangster biopic is to shower its audience with images of guns, stockings pulled tight over faces, and bank notes stuffed at speed into hessian sacks, then this film delivers.

Renato Vallanzasca (played by Kim Rossi Stuart, who is also one of the film’s six writers) may be cheeky and good-looking, but he’s as tough as they come – he has spent 38 of his 58 years in jail – and over the course of the film we see him swallow nails, slash his own chest, and ask someone to stab him. But despite the sensational promise of these scenes, Vallanzasca’s rise through the 1970s criminal underworld of Milan feels protracted, mediocre and in most aspects unexceptional.

The one feature of his story that stands out is the fact that he managed to reach celebrity status, capturing Italian hearts and finding fame as a pin-up gangster for Milan’s teenagers, with hundreds of girls writing him love letters every day.

It’s an intriguing phenomenon but one that remains regretfully unexplored in this film. Unlike Romanzo Criminale, the director’s previous foray into the world of crime, Michele Placido has mysteriously chosen not to weave any social or historical context into this story (other than through the use of chequered mustard and chocolate clothing), therefore isolating Vallanzasca’s tale and preventing us from gaining any real insight into his life, which is surely the real aim of a biopic.

The film’s only attempt to get under Vallanzasca’s skin comes in the form of tacky one liner: "I’m not evil, I just have a more pronounced dark side." It’s sad proof that Angels of Evil never escapes its generic roots. Characters drift in and out of the story with no real impact, the plotting becomes increasingly convoluted, and the pace gradually subsides.

Placido has bravely used some startling sound design and various edgy grades in order to try and maintain our interest, but they do little to bring real drama to the story. This film works as a straight up guns-and-money flick, but its clichés fail to involve us in the myth that is the Angel of Evil.

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