'La Scorta'

Whimsically re-released, this tense, all-business 1993 thriller may be the only action film ever made about the prevention of violence. Actor-turned-director Ricky Tognazzi focuses less on a Sicilian judge daring to investigate governmental corruption and Mafia ties than on his bodyguards, a testy but loyal crew headed by brooding volcano Claudio Amendola and watchful company man Enrico Lo Verso. Echoing the 1992 assassination of judge Giovanni Falcone but actually evoking decades of blood-soaked Sicilian history, the movie is concerned with procedure, but its genuine subject is worry—everyone walks around hyperaware that they could die at any moment. (There are, by all accounts, many more dead honest politicians and administrators in Sicily than live ones.) Tognazzi's use of public spaces, streets, and offices is three-dimensional and exciting in a Michael Mann–ish way, and Ennio Morricone's all-bass-register piano score keeps things nervous. But La Scorta suffers from an anemic plot pulse—you could say the judge's bodyguards did their job too well, because nothing much happens—and the anticlimax is as dull as it is pessimistic. The film's earnest sense of its own iconic weight seems, at this remove, to be a prime setup for a kickass TV series.

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