Silent Action (1975)

Sergio Martino

Running Time: 93 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Luc Merenda, Mel Ferrer, Tomas Milian, Delia Boccardo, Michele Gammino, Paola Tedesco, Gianfranco Barra, Carlo Alighiero, Antonio Casale

In the opening moments, Sergio Martino throws us straight into the unfolding mystery, as we see many deaths staged to look like accidents and suicides. As it turns out, the victims are all high-ranking military officers, and it's down to Inspector Giorgio Solmi (Luc Merenda) to uncover who is responsible. In his efforts, the Inspector finds himself in the midst of a deadly political scandal, threatening to bring Rome to it's knees.

As the investigation gets underway, it becomes far from a straightforward case for our protagonists. Time and time again, we see how the antagonistic forces are steps ahead, leaving our leads back at square one whenever they get closer to an answer. There's a clear sense of treachery running deep, far more than our lead initially realises, and it makes for compelling viewing as the plot deepens. While the first-half focuses on the unfolding mystery, the second-half is more action packed, while never forgetting about the case. It's a fantastic showcase for the thrilling set-pieces, as a gas-filled room and a chase through a boxing club make for excellent watches. Without a doubt, the pulse-pounding high-point is centred around a chase, involving two cars and a motorbike.

Leading the investigation is Inspector Giorgio Solmi, portrayed by Luc Merenda. He captures the character's determination to solve the case and avenge the dead, conveying so much with an intense look. While rocking a turtleneck, Solmi utilises methods which aren't by the book, intent on getting confessions through any way possible. His superiors challenge him on this, as his techniques can only harm the case in the long run, and the main person at odds with these methods is District Attorney Michele Mannino. In a performance tremendously played by Mel Ferrer, we see his initial determination to close the case, opting for the most clear conclusion to achieve a neat resolution, yet the unfolding pressures challenges his resolve.

In regards to the side characters, we get a feel for who they are, yet a bit more characterization would've been welcome. Take Maria, the love-interest to our lead who's introduced as investigating the link between officer's deaths. There's little advancement to her character, feeling most like a plot device whose purpose is to aid Solmi's investigation. These issues don't hinder the story, which engages the viewer right up to the finale, as political elements are mixed in, and the ending leaves a fantastic impression.

Silent Action is available on Blu-Ray from 12th April, courtesy of Fractured Visions. It can be pre-ordered from their website here.