Taking place in the not-so-distant-future, Elio Petri's The 10th Victim takes place in a world where society's lust for violence and death has led to the creation of 'The Big Hunt', an international game that has effectively legalized murder. In this organized game, the members continuously alternate between hunter and victim during each round, with goal of living through ten rounds. When two of the world's top assassins, Marcello and Caroline, are pitted against each other, the media wants in on the action, hoping to document and monetize this deadly game between two of the world's most dangerous and sexy assassins. Elio Petri's The 10th Victim is a ultra-campy, tongue and cheek, take down of media and societies obsession and sensualization of violence, and while the film's broader thematic elements don't always succeed, it's hard to not at least appreciate the ingenuity and style brought to the production. This is a film that embraces its silliness, being a fine example of the gaudy color palette, pop music, and absurd production design which ran rampant during this era of European cinema. As these two characters play a very convoluted game of cat-and-mouse, Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress inject the film with a lot of sex appeal, with Petri creating one of the most vibrant, sexy, and dangerous visions of the future. Another interesting aspect of Petri's film is its critique of masculinity, with Marcello Mastoianni's character being a man who is unwilling to commit to any type of relationship. It's probably a stretch to call The 10th Victim an idictment of the swinging sixties culture, but the way the film ends, with Marcello only committing to a relationship after being faced with a violent alternative is another interesting aspect of the film. While Elio Petri's The 10th Victim is a little too stylish for its own good, this is utterly unique and hypnotizing vision of the future, offering a spirited critique of consumer culture, societies penchant for violence, and masculinity's relationship with such forces.
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