Romanzo Criminale

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Kim Rossi Stuart, Anna Mouglalis, Pierfrancesco Favino

Director: Michele Placido

There have been a host of great movies and television shows that have dealt with Casa Nostra, The Mafia. From THE GODFATHER through to GOODFELLAS and THE SOPRANOS, all classics with a common thread, they show the American perspective of how the Mafia acts in a foreign country. There have not been many notable Italian movies that show what organised crime is like in Italy. With ROMANZO CRIMINALE, we have a gangster movie that will sit comfortably alongside the aforementioned titles above.

Set during the turbulent times in Italian history of the 1970’s and 1980’s, three young criminals decide to step up and show that they have what it takes to push out the more established Mafia gangs in Rome. The kidnapping of a rich proprietor brings Lebanese (Pierfrancesco Favino), Ice (Kim Rossi Stuart) and Dandy (Claudio Santamaria) great wealth and they invest heavily into selling heroin. They use heavy-handed tactics to eliminate those that stand in their way and new uneasy alliances are formed.

The Rome police already have enough on their plate as their resources are stretched in tackling the Mafia and national terrorism. Captain Scialoja (Stefano Accorsi) seems to understand that normal police methods will not bring down the drug runners or the Mafia. He strikes up a dangerous relationship with Dandy’s girlfriend Patrizia (Anna Mouglalis). Knowing that Patrizia will not turn Dandy in willingly, Scialoja uses other methods to get his man but will Patrizia allow Sciaoja to influence her criminal ways?

The three friends start to head in different directions. Lebanese, the leader of the group becomes more drunk with power of wanting to take over Rome and challenges Ice about the choices that he is making with his life. Wanting no further part in this life of crime, Ice plans to move to France or England with his girlfriend Roberta (Jasmine Trinca). Paranoid that he is being betrayed by everyone around him, Lebanese is left with Dandy who only wants to live the good life with Patrizia. When one of the three men is murdered, what follows is a string of dead bodies to find the culprit. At what point does the taste of revenge turn sour that it ends up poisoning you?

Directed by the Award-winning actor-director Michele Placido, this is a movie of epic proportions that at the beginning might lose some of the audience as the full compliment of characters are introduced all at once. This being only a slight complaint, the movie is extremely engrossing and the ensemble features some of the top Italian actors that have appeared on the stage and screen. The always innovating Placido would even ask his actors to improvise on certain scenes if the script allowed for such freedom. With the inclusion of well picked songs and news events such as real life kidnappings, assassinations and a World Cup win, it makes the movie seem all too real.

5 out of 6 stars

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