The Assassin

The Assassin ★★★★

I was not expecting this to be funny and I’m so delighted that it is. I found this on a list of giallo films, but if you’re expecting a high body count or scenes of suspense then you’ll be disappointed. I guess if you break down the film to its essential elements, then it would loosely count as a giallo: there’s an unsolved murder of a wealthy woman, a nonlinear narrative, stylish cinematography, lots of art, and it’s an Italian movie.

Mastroianni plays a lowlife antiques dealer that’s sleazed his way into a life of comfort by sleeping with his best friend’s wealthy wife and buying the possessions of dead or dying paupers at lowball prices. Somehow he’s still charming because he’s Marcello Mastroianni and he smooths his hair with a lit candle. I sort of felt sorry for him as he’s caught up in the existential nightmare of being a suspect in a murder case and as more is revealed about him (through flashback and police interrogations) I liked him less and less. By the end I started to feel sorry for him again, but I hang out with some real lowlifes, so I’m not the best judge of character.

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