That’s ‘Crime Novel’ rather than ‘Criminal Romance’, by the way, and this bullet-riddled Italian saga does have a very generic feel, as ruthless Roman street-kids use the proceeds from a kidnapping to muscle in on the city’s underworld, make it bigger than they dreamed, then proceed to wipe each other out when they get ideas above their station. Shades of Scorsese and Coppola abound, though Michele Placido’s film is perhaps closer in spirit to the brutal B-picture world of ’70s Italian gangster movies. What marks it out however, is an ambitious attempt to weave the characters’ nefarious exploits into Italy’s turbulent recent history (including the Red Brigade’s 1978 murder of PM Aldo Moro), suggesting sinister connections between the criminals, terrorists and the government’s secret service. Unfortunately, the storytelling here is murkier than required, causing the pace to flag alarmingly in the second half. A pity really, since Placido uses period pop hits, like The Sweet’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’, with genuine swagger and Kim Rossi Stuart’s gang leader Fredo (‘Ice’) delivers a terrific performance balancing cold steel with a flicker of conscience.