John Charet’s Take On: Almost Human (1974)

Please note that the following may contain some spoilers so If you have not seen the film, I recommend not to continue reading from here.

Although some have implied that Almost Human ranks as the number one best poliziotteschi film ever, I am not too sure. Nevertheless, I do agree that it ranks as one of the many greatest ones. Almost Human (like many poliziotteschi entries made before and after it) may have been shot on a shoestring, but what it lacked in it’s budget, more than compensated with their truly gritty flavor.

In Milan, homicidal small-time thief Giulio Sacchi (Tomas Milian) aspires to get rich, so he hatches up a plan to kidnap the daughter (Laura Belli) of a wealthy businessman (Giudo Alberti). Using his girlfriend’s (Anita Strindberg) car as transportation, Sacchi then buys a bunch of guns from an old acquaintance (Pippa Starnazza). Simultaneously, Sacchi hires some hoods to execute the kidnapping. At first, Sacchi’s plan looks like a success, but as Inspector Walter Grandi (Henry Silva) and his team of cops begin to slowly put the pieces together, Sacchi loses his sanity and in the process, jeopardizes the lives of everyone around him.

I will not go any further with the plot from here, just watch for yourselves. As for Tomas Milian himself, he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his electrifying performance here as the psychotic Giulio Sacchi. One minute he is quick-witted and then the next, suddenly incompetent. Speaking of the latter, check out the scenes featuring his mob boss Ugo Maione (Luciano Catenacci) beating the crap out of Sacchi for screwing up – can you really blame him? Perverted? Aside from the kidnapped girl, Sacchi rapes two women during that notorious home invasion sequence. Sadistic? Once again, read that last sentence. Murderous? He does not seem to mind killing his girlfriend, an old colleague or his own goons. Along with Malcolm McDowell’s Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, Milian’s Giulio Sacchi is truly bad to the bone. While not the scene-stealer that Milian is, veteran tough-guy actor Henry Silva offers excellent support as detective Walter Grandi, who credibly dishes out Dirty Harry Callahan-like justice.

* * * * (Out of * * * *) stars

Here is a youtube video link to what may be the film’s American trailer (released under the title The Death Dealer)

P.S. I also want to give a huge shout out to Steve (a fellow reader of this blog) for introducing me to this excellent film 🙂 If any of you readers are interested in watching his videos (and I am one of them), click here to view his youtube channel – great stuff indeed 🙂