Directors: Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza
Screenplay: Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza
Starring: Saleh Bakri and Sara Serraiocco
Producer: Massimo Cristaldi and Fabrizio Mosca
Country: Italy
Running Time: 103 min
Year: 2014
BBFC Certificate: 12A

Peccadillo Pictures bring to the fore the brooding yet touching Savlo, brimming with Italian style, no-one else can copy. Salvo (Saleh Bakri) is a very silent man, in the explosive opening scene Salvo shows us he knows how to deal with people who get in his way and how to obtain the information he needs. Ruthless killer Salvo knows Renato Pizzuto is the man who is going to pay; and he will with blood.

Our anti-hero goes in search of Pizzuto and finds his way to Rita’s house. Salvo lurks throughout Rita’s house undetected, at first, as Rita is blind, but soon Rita starts to sense something is not right. The atmospheric tension slowly builds, claustrophobia choking the menacing surroundings. Salvo coldly dispatches Rita’s brother and intends to eliminate Rita, putting his hand over her face, bowing her head, about to take her life. Rita remains defiant and looking up, sees light through his fingers, the trauma and maybe hatred has shocked sight back into her eyes. Salvo is silent, his lack of speech emphasises Rita’s frustration, who is this man and what does he want?

On leaving Rita’s house Salvo must make his report to the head of the mafia (Mario Pupella) in his underground bunker, digging a hole for himself, pretending he has killed Rita along with her brother, but Salvo has hidden Rita at a secret location. Salvo hides out at Mimma (Giuditta Perriera) and Enzo Puleo’s (Luigi Lo Cascio) house, slowly building a relationship as Enzo gains Salvo’s respect, maybe cold Salvo does have some feelings. Rita and Salvo’s relationship deepens as she wants to know Salvo’s intensions, putting them both in peril.

The Sicilian mafia soon find out the truth, they know Salvo’s not killed Rita and he has to finish the job.Bad comb-over Mafia boss is not happy and Salvo has to kill the girl, brooding tension grows as Salvo formulates a plan to save Rita, but will he survive the deadly hail of bullets?

This Italian flick with English subtitles is jam packed full of style, great action sequences, excellent acting, atmospherically shot and convincingly grubby. The first thing I had to check out while watching this film was if Rita was blind and much to my astonishment she is not. Fabio and Antonio wanted to create an accurate depiction of a blind girl, carrying out extensive research; with astonishing consequences. Sara Serraiocco is Rita the blind girl, the acting is awesome. I was sure a blind actress had been used, but Sara’s sight is fine as you will see, if you watch her interview, all that research really did pay off.

The included interviews with the directors and cast are fascinating, Salah in interview clarifies how silence is used in the film to build the atmosphere, explaining “Words without silence are just noise”. We look forward to Fabio and Antonio’s next one with anticipation, it’s a ghost-love story, can they do it again, I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Review by William J. Old

Salvo is released on the 29th September on DVD and VOD by Peccadillo Pictures, I watched the DVD which includes fascinating interviews with the cast and directors. Special features include the upsetting short film ‘Rita’ and behind the scenes footage, giving an absorbing insight into the making of Salvo.

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