Blu-ray Review: Gritty ’70s Italian Thriller SILENT ACTION

4 out of 5 stars

Sergio Martino’s Silent Action is a brilliantly layered Italian thriller from 1975. Taken on a superficial level, you might be fooled into thinking that Martino’s film is a Roman Dirty Harry, but this has much more depth than simply being just another 1970s movie about a cop who doesn’t play by the book. 

Set during the Italian Years of Lead, Silent Action (also known as La polizia accusa: il Servizio Segreto uccide) sees Luc Merenda’s Inspector Giorgio Solmi brought in to solve what looks like a pretty straightforward murder. However, Solmi discovers that there’s more to the crime than meets the eye, uncovering plans for a coup d’état by certain factions of the military. 

Silent Action runs a lean 93 minutes and Sergio Martino makes sure that the pace doesn’t lag. The film kicks-off with some intriguing assassinations, before we’re introduced to Luc Merenda’s tough as nails cop. Merenda looks like he’s just stepped-off a catwalk, as he stalks the bleak and grimy streets of Rome in his attempt to solve the case. He’s faced with double crosses and misdirection galore, constantly butting heads with Mel Ferrer’s District Attorney. 

Loaded with some well executed action set pieces – there’s a particularly good car chase at the midway point – Silent Action might not have had the budget of a Hollywood thriller, but it makes up for that with ingenuity. It also features a wonderful score from Luciano Michelini, which at times is reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s score for The Untouchables. 

An entertaining Italian thriller, Silent Action has many similar ingredients to a lot of ‘70s cop movies, but you’ve never seen them presented like this before. 

Special Features

This release of Silent Action comes from Fractured Visions, a new boutique distribution label which is setting out a strong stall, showing that it’s a force to be reckoned with. 

The film has a new 2K Restoration from the original camera negative, and this means that it looks great – rich and textured. It comes with the original audio, new subtitles and a dubbed version in English. You don’t need me to tell you to watch the subtitled version. 

The disc comes with a commentary from Mike Malloy and recent interviews from director Sergio Martino, star Luc Merenda and composer Luciano Michelini. There’s also the contextual documentary The Age of Lead: 1970s Italy, the featurette The Milian Connection and archival interviews with Luc Merenda and Luciano Michelini

To top it all off, the package comes with a special Collector’s Booklet with new essays by Eugenio Eroclani and Francesco Massaccesi and a CD soundtrack of Luciano Michelini’s brilliant score. Amazing!