Noir City International (Virtual) Film Festival: FOUR WAYS OUT and THE FACTS OF MURDER

Gina Lollobridgida vs. Claudia Cardinale! Who will win?

We do, dear readers. We win.

First up in this Italian double feature FOUR WAYS OUT.

A group of inexperienced thieves pull off a stadium heist during a soccer game and then split up to try and elude the police. Title notwithstanding, there are actually zero ways out. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

We did a little wandering through the farthest outskirts of Noir City with a couple of the films in the festival line up, so it was nice to be back home for this one. I like to say that noir isn’t about the heist, it’s about the ways in which the people involved come apart in the aftermath, and that’s exactly what happens here. We follow each of the criminals as they clash with dames, the authorities and each other.

I dug this one, especially the thread that followed the tall, peculiar artist. The thread with the sweet, saintly madonna and child, not so much. It’s pretty straightforward and simple, considering it was cowritten by Federico Fellini, but overall I enjoyed the hell out it and I think you will too.

Next up THE FACTS OF MURDER

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…

… the facts of murder?

(Sorry, I grew up in the 80s.)

This has been a sunglasses forward line up and this film is no exception.

A minor robbery seems like no big deal until the victim’s neighbor turns up dead. A reluctant inspector with a square jaw and cool shades must question a wild array of humorous, shady, quirky, often dishonest characters in his quest to crack the convoluted case.

This is more whodunnit/procedural than noir and mint-condition Claudia Cardinale notwithstanding, I did not love it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine, and has plenty of entertaining moments. Catfighting barmaids with missing teeth! Marathon runners in dangerously tiny white shorts! And did I mention Claudia?

But overall I found it unnecessarily complicated and over-plotted. Too talky, maybe, and not enough action. Being a New Yorker of a certain age, I find listening to Italians argue kinda nostalgic and soothing, so I didn’t mind all the talking, but found all the plot twists to be a little bit much. It just didn’t knock me out the way some of the other flicks in the line up have. As usual, your milage may vary.

Tonight, it’s back to France for LE DOULOS and then back to Italy again for STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR before coming home to the old USA for DETOUR.

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