review

Il traditore: mafia film of a higher league

Onze score


Traitor, rat, tell-tale, whistle-blower, hero, mob boss: it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between them. Tommaso Buscetta was called a traitor because he was the first godfather who broke the infamous omerta in the 1980s.

According to him, it was the Cosa Nostra under the leadership of the notorious Totò Riina that had betrayed its age-old principles and rules of behaviour by protecting its heroin economy with the sickening executions of friend, enemy, and innocents. Thanks to the informer's testimony, the famous judge Giovanni Falcone was able to pursue mega trials.

Anybody with even only a little screenwriting and directorial talent would be able to use this material to make a socially relevant mafia film. Marco Bellocchio is not in that category. The eighty-year-old veteran (Vincere, Buongiorno notte, Fai bei sogni) is in a much higher league and serves us ambitious, lyrical, and intense cinema. Given the gravity of the crimes, there was no alternative for the sobering bleakness. As though it were a mere trifle, he has even found new ways to make car scenes spectacular. Bravissimo. (NR)

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