Angels of Evil (Vallanzasca-Gli angeli del male) (2010)

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Released 8-May-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Trailer-Theatrical Trailer (1:22)
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (8:43)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 122:56
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michele Placido
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Kim Rossi Stuart
Filippo Timi
Valeria Solarino
Moritz Bleibtreu
Paz Vega
Francesco Scianna
Gaetano Bruno
Lino Guanciale
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Negramaro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Michele Placido, noted director of Romanzo Criminale (2005), teams up with actor Kim Rossi Stuart (who co-wrote the film with five other writers) for this biography of the rise and fall of Italian crime ganglord, Renato Vallanzasca. Angels of Evil (in Italian, Vallanzasca – Gli Angeli Del Male) is a familiar story within the gangster genre. It seeks to caricature the rise and fall of a significant gangster in Vallanzasca, but it fails to reach the heights of similar recent cinematic efforts such as Gomorrah or the superb biography on Carlos The Jackal. In comparison to these two stellar films, Angels of Evil’s approach is average and retrospective.

     Whilst in prison in the 1980s, Renato Vallanzasca (Stuart) dwells on his criminal past. He starts off winding up in a juvenile correctional facility after freeing a tiger from a circus. After this his gang move onto robberies, kidnapping and murder. He soon attracts the attention of a powerful enemy in rival gangster Francis Turatello (Scianna) and Renato has to deal with the eccentricities of his friend Enzo (Timi). Soon, though, the law catches up with him.

     Despite not bringing anything new to the crime genre, Angels of Evil still has some interesting sequences. Placido utilises some effective montages of criminal activity and excess and we get some nicely shot hold-ups, including one heist that is memorable for the police reaction. Negramaro's soundtrack, with its mix of guitars and electronic music, also helps to keep the action flowing.

     Kim Rossi Stuart dominates screen time in his performance as Renato; always suave and intense, though the audience never gets much of a look-in in regards to the motivation of his character. This results in a questionable premise for the audience; is Vallanzasca a hero or an anti-hero? Or does he fluctuate between these two extremes? Other gang members are reduced to clichéd performances, ostensibly because the script doesn't allow them room to flesh out their performances. The only gang member that leaves any impression is Enzo (Filippo Timi), Renato’s childhood friend turned junkie. The others serve as Renato's sycophantic off-siders. Paz Vega as childhood friend and ‘little sister’, Antonella and Francesco Scianna as the rival, Turatello, provide good performances here.

     Angels of Evil courted controversy upon its release, mainly from the families of Vallanzasca's victims, but it doesn't seek to glorify the notorious gangster's lifestyle. On the contrary, there are consistent warnings and consequences to Vallanzasca's actions, with violence and justice enacted upon him in equal measure.

     Despite the film not winning any kudos for originality, it still holds appeal for Kim Rossi Stuart’s acting and Placido's directing. This is one to see for fans of violent gangster-type themed films.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The image has been desaturised, in places, in homage to the retrospective look of 1970s gangster films.

     The aspect ratio is 2:35:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     Angels of Evil is presented on a 7.33 gb dual-layered disc with an average bitrate of 7.6 Mb/s, which is outstanding for a DVD presentation.

     Colours and contrast levels fluctuate depending on the era the story is set to. Scenes in the 1970s are muted and dull, whereas scenes from the 1990s are brighter.

     There are no major film artefacts present on this transfer.

     Subtitles are in yellow and are easy to follow.

     The RSDL change occurs at 66:46, during a scene transition and is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The soundtrack is excellent, it supports the action sequences quite effectively.

     The solitary audio option is an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and audio synchronisation was fine.

     Negramaro's score enhances the film's retro vibe, despite using overdriven guitar and electronic music effects.

     Surround channel usage is discrete, crisp and intense at times.

     The subwoofer gets a decent workout, with some nice low-end bass during the crime sequences and the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer(1:22)

     The original theatrical trailer for Angels of Evil is presented in Italian with English subtitles.

Madman Propaganda (8:43)

    These are trailers for other Madman releases including Gomorrah (2:10), Easy Money (1:59), Point Blank (2:21) and Carlos The Jackal (2:13).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 United Kingdom DVD gets the theatrical trailer, 7 minutes of deleted scenes, an eight-minute 'making-of' featurette and a 7 minute interview with actor and writer, Kim Rossi Stuart. These extras are in Italian and English, and subtitled in English where necessary.

     The Region 2 Italian DVD has Italian and German soundtracks, with Italian, German and English subtitling. Deleted scenes and the 'making-of' featurette are mirrored as per the Region 2 United Kingdom release, however the Italian DVD includes an audio commentary with director Michele Placido. The extras on the Italian release are not English-friendly, however.

     Thus, I would say the Region 2 United Kingdom DVD is the best available for English-speaking fans of the film.

Summary

     Michele Placido's Angels of Evil is a decent Italian gangster film for its 7 million Euro budget (it took in about 3 million Euro at the Italian box office).

     It is a generic action film, with Kim Rossi Stuart's performance in the title role being the standout feature of the movie. The screenplay doesn't give the supporting characters much depth, although Paz Vega and Francesco Scianna did a fine job with their roles. In summary, Angels of Evil is a decent film for fans of violent gangster-themed movies.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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