Monday, February 4, 2013

Romanzo Criminale aka Crime Novel: Italy finally responds to Godfather

Romanzo Criminale: Anyone that enjoys thick, cast heavy crime dramas bordering on soap operas that occasionally leaves you a bit confused as to who that guy was and who do they work for again sort of fare will find that this film is worth giving almost three hours of an evening too.
While I do feel there is a lot of subtext and history I didn't get through the bare bones subtitles and lack of Italy in my academic background (and no, 20 hours of Assassin's Creed 2 didn't help), my enjoyment of this film is sufficient enough for me to recommend it.
Not necessarily as boisterous as the bakers dozen Young and Dangerous films from Hong Kong, or regal and decade spanning epic as the Godfather trilogy, or as intensive a character portrait as Once Upon a Time in Americathis film does manage to strum many of the same chords while also standing on the shoulders of Italian political and social history through the 70's & 80's, much of that new to me making the ride all the richer. I couldn't get to Wikipedia quickly enough afterward to decipher some key points of the film's narrative.
And if you're like me and you like a sprawling crime epic with some fantastical twists, I recommend heading to Chinatown and tracking down the Japanese film trilogy adaptation of a manga of the same name called 20th Century Boys (it's delightful) and sprang to mind a few times during Romanzo Criminale, perhaps just from the way the adult dramas sit so squarely on the alliances and commitments made between lost boy children long ago.

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