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The Climber Blu-Ray Review

November 15, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee
The Climber
5.3
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The Climber Blu-Ray Review  

Cast:
*Joe Dallesandro as Aldo
*Stefania Casini as Luciana
*Raymond Pellegrin as Don Enrico
*Benito Artesi as Ciriaco

Story: The Climber follows in the tradition of gangster classics such as The Public Enemy and Scarface as it charts the rise and inevitable fall of small-time smuggler Aldo (Dallesandro). Beaten and abandoned by the local gang boss after he tries to skim off some profits for himself, Aldo forms his own group of misfits in order to exact revenge…

There’s a good chance you’ve seen a movie like The Climber before, even if you’re never heard of this particular title. It’s a film similar to American gangster movies, Italian mob movies or Japanese Yakuza movies. It even has a similar plot, as it follows a small-time criminal who rises in the ranks of the criminal underworld before getting in over his head and facing the consequences. All of the beats are there, even if they’re not in the same order or don’t play out quite the same way.

This particular film follows Aldo (Dallesandro), a crook who soon becomes a big-time player in the world of crime, forming his own gang and seeking vengeance on those who have wronged him. That means there’s a lot of violence and back-room deals while Aldo reaps the benefits of his newfound success. It’s a similar thread as movies like Scarface or Once Upon A Time in America, but not nearly on that level of quality.

Dallesandro delivers a solid leading performance. Aldo’s not exactly a likable character but Dallesandro brings a level of charisma and charm to him that manages to somewhat elevate the movie. He also exhibits some menace in that Aldo is generally an irredeemable character and he manages to play that well, even if at times he seems to rely solely on scowling instead of actually emoting. As stated, it’s solid but nothing ground-breaking.

That’s not to say that The Climber is bad. It’s technically fine. The acting is decent, there are some nice shots and there’s plenty of violence to keep it from getting dull. The issue is that the story is incredibly derivative. Of course, even a derivative movie can be reasonably entertaining but The Climber rarely gets to that level. When there’s not gun play, it feels like a chore. Even when there is action sequences, they suffer from all feeling kind of the same.

There’s likely plenty of other crime films from the 70s, even from Italy, that hold up better than this does. Even if this is the rumored inspiration for Brian de Palma’s Scarface, that film did this story so much better than this. The Climber is a meandering, derivative watch that contains some bright spots but too few to make it really worth the time to watch it.

Film: 5.0

You get English and Italian Mono tracks here. They sound fine, although there is an occasional artificial sound to some of the audio.

Audio: 6.5

Arrow Video presents The Climber with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. It’s a little better than the video but still nothing special.

Video: 7.0

Special Features

Little Joe’s Adventures in Europe: This is a half hour interview with star Joe Dellesandro talking about his life and career in Europe. It’s just a standard interview, nothing special.

That’s all you get in the way of extras. Not even a trailer. It’s not particularly interesting and not enough

Special Features: 2.5

5.25
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
The Climber is incredibly derivative of other similar mafia/criminal underworld films and doesn't stand out from its contemporaries. Arrow Video's release features a decent enough transfer but seriously lacks in extras and likely isn't worth a purchase.
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The Climber, Joseph Lee