Last Night of Amore
Director: Andrea Di Stefano
Starring: Pierfrancesco Favino, Linda Caridi, Antonio Gerardi, Francesco Di Leva, Camilla Semino Favro
Andrea Di Stefano is back with his third feature Last Night of Amore. Unlike his previous efforts, Escobar: Paradise Lost and The Informer, di Stefano looks closer to home with the vast majority of his cast being Italian, led by the popular Pierfrancesco Favino, though he retains a lock on the thriller genre that those previous films resided in. Like The Informer, Amore is very much a crime thriller but where that movie was just fine, Amore feels like a step up in quality and a more accomplished genre effort - despite a few stumbles along the way.
After 35 years on the job, Milanese policeman Franco Amore (Favino) is a lawful officer (he’s never fired his gun once) seeing out his last day before retirement and….well, you probably know what’s coming next. During a surprise party thrown for him by his partner Viviana (Caridi), Amore receives a call asking him to complete one more case before calling it a day, but we all know that the night will not go smoothly. Flashback to ten days prior where Amore finds himself and his associate Cosimo (Gerardi) roped into a security job for Chinese gangster Bao Zheng (Wen) and we find out that these events and the phone call he receives days later are connected (for added convolution, Viviana’s family is entrenched in the mafia…)
Over the course of its two-hour runtime, Last Night of Amore provides enough twists to keep the fairly conventional narrative engaging, even if it can’t help but feel drawn out at points. Despite that, Amore is a sleek film with highly-effective cinematography courtesy of Guido Michelotti - including a fantastic opening credits scene that sees the camera hovering over Milan, encapsulating every facet of the city - that really captures and presents the tone of the film and the city itself, there is a real class to the sequences shot during the night that immediately elevates the film. The intriguing score from Santi Pulvirenti sets the mood effectively as well without feeling like simple window dressing - an issue I find with similar films.
In Pierfrancesco Favino, the film has an affable, and, crucially, believable lead. Amore is not a superhero, he’s just a man intent on upholding the law, and at no point during the film does he really deviate. Favino’s strong performance anchors the movie as we see him running a gamut of emotions as the walls close in on him - aside from his problematic deal with Zheng, Vivian’s lineage has prevented Amore from moving up the chain at work leading to financial struggles at home and for his daughter’s education. Without Favino, I can see Amore not being as accomplished or solid as it is.
Di Stefano injects plenty of tension throughout, though some moments are more successful than others, as the mystery of the events that pulse through the film begins to unravel. There is one major action sequence later in the movie that proves to be the lynchpin moment of Amore, and whilst its locality provided a more claustrophobic feeling, it didn’t entirely work realistically. However, this is not an action-heavy film, so it dodges plenty of cliches because of that, instead, it focuses more on the situation as well as Amore’s relationship with Vivian as events test their bond.
Last Night of Amore doesn’t rewrite the genre but it is more than strong enough to rise above many of its more recent contemporaries. You will probably work out where things are heading before the film ends, but, fueled by a strong performance from Favino, our lead character Amore seems to know as well. This is a very decent and stylish crime thriller.
June 11th 2023