Last Night of Amore Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Andrea de Stefano
Stars: Pierfrancesco Favino, Linda Caridi, Francesco De Leva, Antonio Gerardi, Katia Mironova.
A gritty Italian crime thriller set against the backdrop of Milan’s criminal underworld, Last Night Of Amore was one of the highlights of the recent Italian film festival.
For 35 years Franco Amore (Pierfrancesco Favino, from Nostalgia, etc) has been an honest and respected policeman in Milan who has never fired his weapon. But now he is approaching retirement. His much younger second wife Viviana (Linda Caridi) has organised a surprise party to celebrate his retirement. But the party has barely begun when Franco receives a phone call from his boss informing him that his partner and best friend Dino (Francesco De Leva) has been killed in a shootout during a diamond robbery in a highway underpass. Franco heads to the busy crime scene where the forensics teams are gathering evidence.
Then the film flashes back to ten days earlier and events take on a new light and a different perspective. There is obviously more happening here than first meets the eye, and it soon becomes clear that Franco has got himself involved in doing an off-the-book job for his wife’s cousin Cosimo (Antonio Gerardi), a jeweller. He agrees to participate in an airport pickup, a seemingly straightforward job, so he invites Dino to accompany him. But the simple job goes terribly awry thanks to Chinese gangsters and a couple of corrupt cops. Can Amore outsmart the investigating cops and survive the night.
The premise of a robbery gone wrong has been done numerous times before and has become a staple of crime films, but here former actor turned writer and director Andrea de Stefano (The Informant, etc) brings some energy and a fresh angle to the formula. De Stefano’s direction is quite muscular, and he ramps up the tension effectively.
Visually the film is quite stunning, especially with the opening aerial shots of Milan at night, giving us spectacular views of the streets and the well-lit buildings courtesy of cinematographer Guido Michelotti. Michelotti also uses handheld cameras to great effect during the climactic heist sequence, which was apparently shot on a real highway with cars speeding past. Santi Pulvirenti’s score also adds to the suspense.
Veteran Italian star Favino brings depth and subtle nuances to his performance as the conflicted Amore who begins to realise that he is in over his head.
Last Night Of Amore is a gritty, taut neo-noir crime drama that almost cries out for the obligatory Hollywood remake.