Yet another offbeat poliziottesco, this is actually an interesting satire – again centred around a particular Italian metropolis, Turin. Here, rather than having a tough young cop fighting gangsters or petty criminals,...展开we get Enrico Maria Salerno as a middle-aged intellectual Police Commissioner who finds that the biggest threat comes from the city's decadent aristocracy (eventually exposing a drug/prostitution racket). His fine performance is matched by Francoise Fabian as the beautiful widowed mother of one of the suspects (with whom he shares a hesitant relationship) and film director Luciano Salce as a cynical and alcoholic crusading newspaperman (and Salerno's longtime associate).
Still, the film's tone is undecided (alternating brusquely between broad comedy and heavy drama) and the narrative all over the place – encompassing not only Salerno's own failing health but industrial politics (in the figure of a crazed ex-FIAT employee) and the problems of immigrants (an irrelevant but moving sequence in which a young boy hangs himself because of poor grades at school and where Salerno tries to break the ice by communicating with the befuddled father in their native dialect). All the while, it also attempts to fulfill the requirements of the genre by depicting a hold-up at a jewellery which leaves the elderly owner dead, the rape/murder of a teenage girl, a train robbery which turns into a massacre of both cops and criminals, the attempted suicide of Fabian's son over a frame-up, the climactic raid on the brothel, etc.
Ultimately, the film is overlong though it concludes with a couple of strong sequences: Salerno and Salce disrupting a social gathering by distributing pornographic material to the clearly embarrassed (but ever polite) aristocracy depicting their degenerate offsprings, and Salerno angrily showing Fabian the 'real' Turin – a city vaunted for its medieval relics, and to whose hedonism Salerno maintains the people are slowly reverting! Carlo Rustichelli's jaunty music often serves as ironic commentary on the proceedings but, for this reason, doesn't have the urgency of the typical poliziottesco score.