Based on the magnificent Italian Noir novel 'The Goodbye Kiss' by Massimo Carlotto (easily one of the top 3-4 out of the 50 or so crime novels I've read by authors from the boot),'Arrivederci amore, ciao' is, quite frankly, a little disappointing.
Although I would probably have enjoyed the film more had I not read the book, the choice of Michelle Soavi as director would still not have pleased me. Despite some assistant director work with Dario Argento, Soavi's own films - such as 'The Church- never impressed me very much, being overblown and lacking in subtlety.
Although the cast here do what they can, the film simply does not capture the irredeemable wickedness and systematic immorality of Pellegrini, the anti-hero of the book/film. A character whose only peers in the annals of crime fiction are
Richard Stark's Parker and Highsmith's Ripley (and these are broad comparisons, both being very different to each other and pellegrini -all three are sui genris), Pellegrini may wait a long time before getting an authentic screen portrayal. Just think - there have been at least half a dozen Parker films now and none have captured the character, only two coming close('point blank' and 'payback: straight up', while five Ripley movies have conjured two near misses ('ripley's game' and 'plain soleil').
Carlotto fans will want this DVD - which has UK subtitles, but check the amazon product listing to be sure, you may have to go to the US site for a region 1 copy) - but they'll be keener to buy and read 'At the end of a dull day', the sequel to the first Pellegrini book. There is also a feature film of 'the Fugitive', but it is not available with English subs (argh!).
So if you are a fan of Italian Noir, go with 'Romanzo Criminale','The Past is a Foreign Land' and 'Angels of Evil' before you buy this.
Stephen E. Andrews, author, '100 Must Read Books For Men'