La Scorta

VESTED INTERESTS Lo Verso, Amendola and Memphis, from left, serve and protect.
VESTED INTERESTS Lo Verso, Amendola and Memphis, from left, serve and protect.

Time Out says

As absorbing and timely as ever, this political thriller about the personal price of trying to uproot deeply entrenched government corruption was inspired by the experiences of real-life Italian judge Francesco Taurisano and his security detail. After one judge and his protector are murdered while investigating Mafia ties to local businesses in the Sicilian town of Trapani, new magistrate Michele de Francesco (Cecchi) is brought in from Rome and given a rotating crew of bodyguards (the scorta of the title). His protectors are a mixed group: Head honcho Andrea (Lo Verso) is savvy, but has close ties to officials who may be part of the problem; hotheaded Angelo (Amendola) requested the job; Raffaele (Tony Sperandeo) keeps his engagement to a local woman secret for fear of being reassigned; and Fabio (Ricky Memphis) just wants to be transferred somewhere safe.

De Francesco makes himself unpopular by questioning security at the court building, where patronage trumps qualifications. After he begins receiving threats, he realizes the only people he can rely on are his bodyguards. But the more De Francesco asks of them, the more he puts them in the line of fire. Director Ricky Tognazzi and screenwriters Simona Izzo and Graziano Diana downplay car chases and gun battles in favor of low-level menace made more poisonous by the ruggedly beautiful locations—and a downbeat ending that rings all too bitterly true. (Opens Thu; Pioneer.)—Maitland McDonagh



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