Mafioso

"Essential"

Mafioso Review


Alberto Lattuada's Mafioso has the look and feel of an archived piece of dust-washed stone being hunted by Indiana Jones. Its black-and-white photography (pristine and peerless by any standards) and its leading man, the incomparable Alberto Sordi, are timestamps of a bygone era where style was a matter of pride. Yet, besides a brief run in the early '60s, no one has heard of Mafioso and little is known of its proficient director.

Due mostly to lack of access on DVD or reappraisal, Lattuada has become a cinematic specter; the kind of mythological beast of burden that is known for his capacity for brilliance but is unavailable to anyone interested enough to look him up. To date, Lattuada's only film to reach a Region 1 disc is Variety Lights, and that's only because his co-director happened to be some yutz named Fellini. With the re-release of this seminal work, however, Lattuada's recognition might just be raised from purgatory.

Walking through an opera house of whirling, wheezing machinery, Antonio Badalamenti (Sordi) plants his eyes to a clipboard, only looking up to bark a "get back to work" or the more predominant "be careful". He has a certain skip in his step; after years of slaving at a Fiat plant, he suddenly finds himself in the position of being able to travel from the suburban dead-calm of Milan to his ancestral home in Sicily, where all his family still resides. It will be the first time that his family meets his wife and children.

Upon arrival in Sicily, Antonio becomes a boisterous youth again, hugging and kissing his entire family with emphatic adoration. His old family, however, has little warmth for the new family he has made for himself; they snort at the blonde wife who knows nothing of his past. A once loyal part of a prominent Sicilian mob, Antonio lavishes an undying love and respect on Don Vincenzo (Ugo Attanasio), the aged leader of the mob. Easily manipulated by the forces at hand, Antonio is asked to handle a quick favor for his former employer and mentor, culling up the Sicilian ruffian that Badalamenti left when he started making cars.

In class dynamics, Mafioso infiltrates every facet of life, summing up the rudimentary boredom of the man from Milan while not turning a deaf ear to the crimes of the Sicilian assassin. The family Antonio has built is sanitized and lacks any flavor of his roots, doubly punctuated by the fact that he works for a manager from Trenton, New Jersey. His relatives are a loopy mix of grotesque dishevelment and unfathomable loyalty, which includes an amputated father and a sister with a faint mustache. What Lattuada crafts here is a rousing mix of humor and melancholic drama, meant to acquit neither side of Antonio's life, past or present. Sure, there's murdering and crime afoot, but there's a sense of history to the deeds being asked to be performed, a timeless sense of cold-blooded honor. That Lattuada is able to mix this in with the perverse humor of Antonio's parents and relatives is a testament to a forgotten talent, who left us in 2005 at the age of 90. Like Jean-Pierre Mellville's shattering Army of Shadows, here's a film that shows off ability and surprise while making it all seem as simple as a drive back home after a long day at the plant.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th October 1962

Distributed by: Rialto Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alberto Lattuada

Producer: Antonio Cervi

Starring: as Antonio Badalamenti, as Marta, Carmelo Oliviero as Don Liborio, Gabriella Conti as Rosalia

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.