Mafioso is many things, but a good movie ain’t one of ‘em. This is clear from the carousel-of-industry montage that plays under the opening credits; it lays the groundwork for the narrative’s myriad shifts in tone, but, like the film proper, it makes its points early and then just keeps hammering away. Alberto Sordi (whose last name, legend has it, was hilariously mangled by his one-time co-star Bette Davis) comes on like Bellissima-era Magnani, a bastion of bug-eyed energy, as family man Antonio “Nino” Badalamenti, who takes his wife Marta (Norma Bengell) and their two young daughters Cinzia (Cinzia Bruno) and Caterina (Katiusca Piretti) back to the Sicilian old country for an extended visit. Nino’s something of a local celebrity for having made it big on the mainland and much culture-clash dramedy ensues, though never of a particularly insightful sort (to consider, as some do, Mafioso‘s quirky EYE-talian mannequins and their window-dressed underclass trappings to be the height of authenticity is, to these eyes, an egregious overstatement). The observational humor works up to a point. Past that we’re left twiddling our thumbs until Nino, after several masterful manipulations by the local don (Ugo Attanasio), reveals his inner gangsta and takes an unscheduled (and undesired) journey to… I can’t say where. In what must be the stupidest don’t-reveal-the-twist publicity since Miramax’s post-Crying Game porker The Advocate, Rialto Pictures has asked that I observe absolute omerta as to the particulars of Mafioso‘s climax. Let’s just say that this underwhelming third act’s only real point of interest is Sordi’s cross-cultural run-in with a drunken member of the Cassavetes underground.
- Rialto Pictures
- 102 min
- Alberto Lattuada
- Rafael Azcona, Marco Ferreri, Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli
- Alberto Sordi, Norma Bengell, Gabriella Conti, Ugo Attanasio, Francesco Lo Briglio, Carmelo Oliviero, Cinzia Bruno, Katiusca Piretti, Armando Tine, Lilly Bistrattin, Michèle Bailly, Hugh Hurd
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