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Henry Silva plays off two Mafia families against one another
The other reviews amply describe "Quelli che contano". The plot skeleton is that mafioso Henry Silva creates a war between two mafia families, leading to their destruction.
Silva is tremendously entertaining as the calculating catalyst whose face and eyes are under total control, never revealing his true agenda and always misleading his opponents, who mis-read him, because of his cleverly-chosen words and actions, as on their side. His appearance and carriage, his eyes and face, are all perfect for this part.
Silva's plans succeed. Assassinations and diverting a drug shipment in a donkey cart are part of his strategy. He knows just what to do and say to manipulate the two families.
It is entertaining to see a Machievellian character at work, who has no scruples. This is emphasized by his sexual tastes, which are tough and sadistic, but even his beating up of Barbara Bouchet has perhaps a purpose in enraging her mafia boss keeper. That is one place where Silva goes wrong, and he almost pays for it with his life.
There is nary a policeman to be seen in sight. Three mafia bosses come in for significant character development and contrast, along with their immediate family members. They provide good support, and, of course Bouchet is a very capable actress who invariably gains our attention, whether massaging herself with milk, eating a banana, taunting Silva, or being beaten up by him.
Silva is not 100% evil. Is anyone? I doubt it. He tries to help a young couple in love escape the carnage of their families.
If there is a message here or a reason why some of us enjoy these films, it may be that there is some of Silva's character in everyone, and for that reason, we cannot fully trust other people, even within many families in which this problem is supposed to be overcome. This movie brings this out into the open. It shows how easily one unscrupulous person can magnify the level of distrust, create enmity, and bring about a war. We want to know about ourselves. Entertainment and box-office may be the #1 reason for films, but why would films like this sell? They show us a side of ourselves that we want to see.
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