Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A.C.A.B.: All Cops Are Bastards (2012)

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In A.C.A.B. Cobra's (Pierfrancesco Favino) body is decorated with a Celtic cross
and his room wall with Mussolini paraphernalia.

Eradis Josende Oberto
plays a Cuban wife.
At a glance:
The onset of the general elections beckons in my troubled homeland Malaysia, so how better to get into the mood than with a nice spot of anti-police literature - and who better to get it from than the world's most passionate police haters - the Italians. I write from experience, so bugger off, you haters. Stefano Sollima's feature debut is an adaptation of Carlo Bonini's 2009 book, to which I haven't had the literary pleasure since it isn't translated. The film however is a slick cop drama with wide international appeal, though its stance on police vigilantism and use of excessive force is somewhat ambiguous, if not apologetic. We follow five riot police officers in Rome – white pride hardman Cobra (Pierfrancesco Favino), hothead wife-beater Negro (Filippo Nigro), string-along Carletto (Andrea Sartoretti), idealistic rookie Adriano (Domenico Diele) and their dogged leader Mazinga (Marco Giallini). A taste of authentic ultra is added no doubt by the fact that most of these actors are Roman-born.
Bad news on the doorstep:
A.C.A.B. = Roma Victor!
Shaft at Cool Awesome Movies points out that the riot scenes look a little underpopulated, possibly due to budget constraints, but this isn't fatal to the movie. If you've ever been arrested and beaten up by the cops for football hooliganism like I was, you'd know it only takes two people to make mayhem (Aha! And there you were thinkin the writer behind this blog is some middle-class fuckwit). The movie hits a few high notes, accentuated by an energetic rock soundtrack (Italian band Mokadelic) - but I think somethin more subdued would've suited some of the emotional downtime and given it a more dirty and desperate Children Of Men (2006) or Pusher (1996) feel.
Reminds me of:
All the English people I knew with those four dotted tatts on their knuckles. Half of them are just lowlifes who don't really stand for anythin, though. For the uninitiated, just give the movie title a Google and you'd learn a little about the significance of such a tattoo.
I can't remember if I cried:
The balcony scene with Filippo Nigro's anti-establishment monologue has been singled out as the film's most powerful play but I feel the most for Favino's Cobra. His body is decorated with a Celtic cross and room wall with Mussolini paraphernalia, but finds himself alone in hummin the tune that was supposed to drum up the camaraderie that once held his brethren together. This quiet scene, in a police van en route to yet another bust-up, defines the movie for me.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
"I don't really believe in anything. I'm just here for the violence". I think you'll like A.C.A.B. Check out the movie's official website (in Italian) and it's very decorated Facebook page for more details.★★★
Bonus material:
Lots of movie stills and behind-the-scenes shots for you. Photo credit Emanuela Scarpa.

Director Stefano Sollima in Naples to promote the film.

Pierfrancesco Favino on his character Cobra: "E' stata dura interpretare il mio personaggio, soprattutto dal punto di vista psicologico. Entrare in una situazione mentale cosi lontana, verso la quale tutti abbiamo pregiudizi. Una bella sfida!"