Rush Hour (L'ora di Punta)



Venice International Film Festival

R&C Prods.

VENICE, Italy -- "Rush Hour" is a strange English title for Vincenzio Marra's languid and unintentionally amusing drama about a corrupt member of Italy's Financial Police who thinks he can outwit his boss, major financiers, building unions and two beautiful women.

The only thing rushed about it is the screenplay, which stumbles into so many silly pitfalls that it provoked laughter at a press and industry screening at the Venice International Film Festival.

With leading man Michele Lastella providing handsome looks but only two expressions -- surprise and self-satisfaction -- the picture, which was in competition at the festival, is likely to sink without trace even on home territory.

The young police officer joins the financial department full of brisk energy and eager to suck up to Capt. Salvi, played by Augusto Zucchi as if he were a mafia don. Despite having a lovely and caring fiance (Giulia Bevilacqua), Costa succumbs to the charms of an older woman, a rich widow (Fanny Ardant).

After a successful career taking bribes left and right, which he shares with the captain, Costa quits the department and gets into the construction business, which he knows nothing about. Banal and predictable, the film's one element of interest is in guessing what cliche will come next.

R&C Prods., The French Connection, RAI Cinema
Director, writer: Vincenzio Marra
Producers: Tilde Corsi and Gianni Romoli
Director of photography: Luca Bigazzi
Production designer: Beatrice Scarpato
Costume Designer: Daniella Ciancio
Editor: Luca Benedetti
Caterina: Fanny Ardant
Filippo: Michele Lastella
Francesca: Giulia Bevilacqua
Captain Salvi: Augusto Zucchi
Donati: Atonio Gerardi
Anna: Barba Valmorin
Patrizi: Nicola Labate
Prisco: Maurizio Tesei
Running time -- 95 minutes
No MPAA rating