Violent City ★★★★½

Panopticon action cinema. One long deterministic suicide run rendered by the relationship between a Langian camera that sees everything and Bronson's body that is always being observed and is allowed no freedom outside following his self-destruction path. The movie has multiple chase scenes that are predicted in the same sense of characters getting lost in a fracture but engulfing geography. Jill Ireland's femme fatale is in the top tier of 70s mysoginist roles (which says something), but she is also the closest the movie has to a Sollima's stand-in at least in so far as Violent City punishing nature. All three main set pieces (a major chase in the opening, a hit in the middle and the elevator execution in the climax) are dialogue free, perfect executed and mannered "pure cinema" whose profissionalism (in front and behind the camera) suggest an inhuman logic the entire action is based on. I've always been fascinating by the title as Violent City mix of seduction, betrayal and revenge are pitched at such personal terms that seem to have nothing to do with the New Orleans setting, but Sollima's camera has an large scope and attention to geography that keep connecting the operatic action to some larger unseen mechanism.

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