“I’m not a bad person, I just have a pronounced dark side” so says Renato Vallanzasca a Milanese gangster and celebrity criminal that operated in and around Milan in the 1970’s. A man, who boasted that he was born to be a thief, a man who became a legend in Italy, loved by women because of his good looks and addictive smile and a man who was treated like a famous Rock star. Vallanzasca is now the subject of a feature film directed by Michele Piacido. Angels of Evil (2010) or Vallanzasca – Gli angeli del male, tells the story of this charismatic gangster from his prison cell where he is technically still incarcerated to this day having receiving four life sentences but at present controversially let out each day to work. Narrated by Vallanzasca it takes us back to his heyday when he was the head of a crime syndicate known as Banda della Comasina (Band of Comasina) one of the most powerful and ferocious criminal groups in Milan, carrying out daring robberies, kidnappings and murder.
|Vallanzasca's story is narrated from behind bars.|
The exceptionally good looking and mesmerising Italian actor Kim Rossi Stuart play the part of Renato Vallanzasca. Rossi Stuart had previously worked with the director on another Italian gangster movie Romanzo Criminale (2005) based on a novel which in turn was inspired by the Banda della Manliana one of the most powerful criminal associations which dominated Rome’s drug and gambling activities from the 1970’s up until 1992.
|Vallanzasca in one of his many court appearances.|
Although the director and the lead star where given permission by the prison authorities to meet with Vallanzasca and his wife! Piacido decided to keep arms length from the films subject because he felt he might be influenced to be too sympathetic towards the character. Rossi Stuart and Renato met and talked many times which allowed the actor to enter the maze of Renato’s complex criminal mind and extract a character that would portray his light and dark side, which he does to great effect. A highly stylised movie that’s both entertaining and edifying.
|Kim Rossi Stuart who plays Vallanzasca on screen.|