A man is found dead, decapitated by a digging machine.
After such a start, Mio Caro Assassino (My Dear Killer - Tonino Valerii, 1972), had to maintain a certain standard to keep the memorable-images-seeker hooked until its final scene.
Well, what's genuinely striking about this film is not this strong opening scene, but more the typical novel-like structure the rest of the film is built on. Its resolution scene could have been taken out of an Agatha Christie book: inspector Luca Peretti gathers all the suspects in a room and unveils the mysteries of the plot in front of them, to finally reveal the identity of the killer, who is obviously one of them. Isn't this reminiscent of Hercule Poirot's adventures?
Fact is, this giallo has got method. Its opening scene with the digging machine is both misleading, as the rest of the film is not visually as striking (apart from the circular saw murder), and at the same time perfectly consistent with the story structure and the main character.
Because our hero, Peretti, is a digging machine. He will conscentiously and literally dig into the secrets of a bourgeois family where a little girl was killed, explore the dark aspects of a previously aborted investigation led by a private eye (who happens to be the victim of the real digging machine) and relentlessly overcome the obstacles and threats to reach for the truth.
He will do this with a method, which is very unusual in gialli, where most of the time heroes not only don't belong to the police, but also unveil the truth by chance or instinct more than logic.
But the key is: this method is fuelled by a genuine desire of doing good. As a matter of fact, Inspector Luca Peretti appears as one of the very rare truly moral characters of giallo.
A moral giallo? Sounds like an oxymoron.
Find Mio Caro Assassino here (French DVD by Neo Publishing) or there (US DVD by Shriek Show).