Rome 1960s. Three young criminals, Lebanese (Pier Francesco Favino), Ice (Kim Rossi Stuart) and Dandy (Claudio Santameria), decide to take a step up from the streets of Rome in to the world of organised crime. It's the birth of a smart and ruthless organization which soon crushes all its rivals assuming total control of the drugs trade. Their progress and changes in leadership take place over twenty-five years, from the 1970s into the '90s, and are inseparably intertwined with the dark history of modern Italy: terrorism, kidnappings and corruption at the highest levels of government. As the three friends head to the end of an era where all vendatas are executed and scores are settled only one question remains, who will be left standing?
If Vito Corleone had stayed home...
- Romanzo Criminale review by Kurtz
(1) of (2) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
...it might have been his grandkids cutting a swathe through the Rome underworld of the late twentieth century like the central characters here. I’m not making the “Godfather” reference lightly, either: this is a blinding film which is a worthy descendant of the Coppola classic. There is crunching action, great performances and a clear point being made by the director about how the material wealth that the characters build up fails to make them any happier, more fulfilled or even safer. So although they get the glamorous lifestyle, in many ways they are as trapped as any wage slave trying to make the mortgage payments. This modern take on crime, an adept interweaving of great political events in Italy into the story and a thumping contemporary soundtrack brings it into “Goodfellas” territory. And with a pedigree like that, how can the world resist “Romanzo Criminale”?
Saying you didn't like this film would be a crime; actually, no, you would be criminal.
- Romanzo Criminale review by MH
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You rated this film: 5
I introduced an Italian friend to this title when he didn't even know who the Banda della Magliana was. He does now.
When I first watched it I couldn't figure out who killed one of the most compelling characters in the film on the church steps at the end. It was just so out of the blue and didn't make sense. It took a further four watchings before it clicked; and when you have got it you will have learned a lot about criminality and the real world too. It's just a system, as they say in the bonus feature, the criminal at some point become soft; at that point they relinquish their position to the next fierce man off the streets. It's not just that there are so many characters, but that there are are so many well drawn characters and so involving too. This film is more an inside out viewing of the main criminal characters; they are as they see themselves - equally capable of "heroism" or of cowardice.
The "Anno di plombi" - 'years of lead' are long gone in Italy but the nefarious NGOs still have their talons in both crime and terrorism in mainland Europe; the Strategy of tension has just rolled along on a world tour, no lessons learned.
If you're going to watch it keep check of all the character's introduction and memorise them at the beginning when Ice comes out of jail,
Don't get Gemmito confused with Ciro, and watch out for Dandi repeating himself.