Crime thrillers, if done well, always leave the audience with something to ponder upon. Usually showing the affairs between the good cops and the bad guys, this genre is known to flirt with lofty philosophical questions about honesty and righteousness versus survival and safety, which continue to run at the back of the mind even after the film ends. Writer-Director Andrea Di Stefano’s latest film, Last Night of Amore, only goes to show that he knows how to craft a thinking man’s crime thriller, while never missing out on the exciting elements associated with the genre.
Last Night of Amore is about an honest cop, Franco Amore, who hesitantly decides to work for a Chinese businessman as a security provider just days before his retirement. On his very last day before retiring, his unblemished career comes under attack when an assignment goes horribly wrong.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Last Night Of Amore’?
A lot happened on Franco Amore’s last working day as a police officer. Just ten days ago, he had saved the life of a Chinese businessman, Zhang Zhu, who would have died of cardiac arrest had it not been for Franco, who came in just in the nick of time to resuscitate him. Cosimo, Franco’s brother-in-law, did business dealings with Zhu and thought it would be a good idea to introduce Franco to him and get him to provide a security service for Zhu.
Franco, who had 35 years of experience in law enforcement, was an ideal candidate for that kind of job. He didn’t look menacing or hardboiled like the other officials, which is quite unusual considering that he had given his whole life to such a strenuous job. His wife, whom he loves dearly, seems to be the reason behind it. The chirpy, good-natured Viviana always kept the home sparked up with her presence. She wasn’t the kind of woman who would leave him alone while he went away to solve all his problems. This irritated Franco sometimes, but more often than not, it tremendously helped to have Viviana as a companion. Franco even had a daughter from his previous marriage who was studying abroad. Soon, Franco would be a retired cop, and he would have enough time on his hands to spend some with her as well. That must have been his intention, but fate had other plans.
He saved Zhu’s life, met him on Cosimo’s watch, and agreed to provide Zhu with the same kind of service he did for Cosimo. Although he did tell Zhu’s son-in-law that he had his terms and conditions, which, if not met, meant he couldn’t provide the service. No guns or narcotics shall be transported by Zhu’s men under his watch. The deal was made with the agreement clear to both sides. Franco was a little apprehensive seeing some Chinese criminals in lock-up, but the extra cash meant he wouldn’t have to worry about surviving only on his meager pension. An assignment came just a day before he retired. He wanted to postpone it, but the hefty sum made him take the job. Franco should have never taken up the job, but he realized it all too late, resulting in the death of his partner, Dino.
How Did Dino Die?
A few days before retirement, Franco told Dino about the job. The money was to be split up, and Dino didn’t mind accompanying Franco. Dino had a young son as well, and the job wasn’t to be dangerous, or so he thought. Given all these factors, Dino agreed. A day before Franco’s retirement, which was also his birthday, he and Dino were ready to transport a Chinese couple to Zhu. They were carrying something of great value in a briefcase, but Franco didn’t care. He had his focus on finishing the job and walking away with the money.
The atmosphere got a little tense when the vehicle suddenly had a flat tire. The Chinese couple got flustered, and both Franco and Dino struggled to keep them calm. A police car started tailing Franco, and he had to stop. He thought he could handle it, but the two Carabiniera (Italy’s national police force) officers tailing Franco don’t listen to him at all and don’t care if he is the local police. Their persistence made him question their intentions, but before he could make a decision as to what he should do, the Chinese man shot one of the officers. Everything went south, and everybody except Franco ended up dead. Franco took a look at the briefcase and found a stash of diamonds. He threw it on an abandoned overbridge and ran away.
Why Doesn’t Franco Surrender?
Viviana, who had planned a surprise birthday party for Franco, gets the news when Franco calls her to bring a fresh pair of clothes for him. Franco informs her of the job gone wrong and that Dino had been killed. He wanted to go to the police and tell them everything about his association with Zhang Zhu, but Viviana stopped him. According to her, they could run away and start a new life someplace else. His whole career was to get tarnished if anybody got to know of his involvement in the homicides. He changed his mind to surrender not because of Viviana’s pipe dreams but because he still had a hunch that he could solve the case and find out who was behind the botched-up job.
Franco arrived at the crime scene after appearing at his birthday party, ensuring he had an alibi. There he saw that someone had planted the Chinese man’s gun on Dino’s body, making it look like he had killed the Carabiniera officer. Before dying, the other Carabiniera officer had dialed a number calling for reinforcement. Franco had taken a photograph of her call records before leaving the crime scene, so he knew the last number she dialed must be of the cop who had arrived on the scene and planted that gun on Dino. He dialed the number and found the man to be another Carabiniera officer who had seen him run away from the crime scene. Revealing his name to his superiors could mean going to prison himself. Franco remains mum on the issue until a question arises in his mind: Who told these corrupt cops about the diamonds?
‘Last Night Of Amore’ Ending Explained: Is Franco Dead?
After helping Viviana find the diamonds, he told her to take Ernesto, Dino’s son, and go to Dino’s village until Franco joined later. He had finally figured out who was behind the heist. Before dying, the Carabiniera officer had displayed her utter surprise and disappointment because she was told that Franco did not shoot, implying she did not expect that he would let the job get violent. Franco had heard this exact same sentiment from Cosimo, and only he knew about Franco going on the job. Franco hence figured that Cosimo was the one who had manipulated him into working for Zhu, precisely because he thought that he would let the diamonds be taken away.
Franco goes straight to Cosimo, captures him and takes him to Zhu to spill all the secrets. This is where Cosimo reveals that it was Zhu’s son-in-law who had made the entire plan, and he was simply an intermediary, supplying the corrupt Carabiniera officers with the help of his cousin Tito. Franco wasn’t out of trouble yet. Zhu had lost his diamonds, which were now with Viviana. When asked to return them, Franco declines as a punitive fine for breaking the agreement of not allowing men with guns on his watch. If the Chinese man did not have the gun, he wouldn’t have been able to draw first blood, which resulted in the death of five people. The diamonds also serve as means for Ernesto to survive. If, in case, the enquiry found him to be related to the crime scene, Franco’s pension would be forfeited, in which case Viviana and Franco’s daughter would survive off of the diamonds. Giving this rationale behind not returning the diamond, he leaves the building and completes his tenure of 35 years of service, announcing his retirement. A man is seen coming out of the building, possibly to shoot Franco.
Franco can be assumed to be dead. The man was probably one of Zhu’s guards sent to kill Franco for his audacity to not return the diamonds. But the last day had opened his eyes to quite a different world. His own brother-in-law had betrayed him, and he was fuming with anger. Franco’s whole personality has undergone a severe change in the last few days. He was seen as an honest but weak police officer, afraid to fire a gun, but he had changed a lot during the last few hours. His indecision had caused his friend Dino’s death, and perhaps he wasn’t going to be that indecisive ever again. So, it is very well a possibility that when Franco saw the man coming from afar, this new version of him would shoot him back first, ensuring he got to see his family again. But then again, as the title of the movie implies that it was his “last night”, which hints at the fact that he is dead. Or it could mean that it was simply his last day as an honest, law-abiding cop, and from here on, he too would draw first blood when faced against a criminal.