Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Review: The Traitor

Release date: January 31, 2020
Running time: 145 minutes
Starring: Pierfrancesco Favino, Luigi Lo Cascio, Fausto Russo Alesi

The traitor tells the story of a real life mob boss, Tommaso Buscetta who was an Italian mobster in Sicily and Brazil during the 1960s and 1970s.  However, a series of brutal attacks on his family lead him to become a police informant, putting himself and his remaining family at serious risk.

This movie has multiple parts, first as a background for a mob boss and the brutal attacks that happened to his family.  Then it turns into more of an investigative, legal drama, as Buscetta becomes an informant.  These two very different themes are handled perfectly; although there is a clean break between the two main parts, there are some flash backs that occur at various times that help tie everything together.  The crux of all of this is Favino's amazing portrayal of Buscetta; Favino has a quiet confidence and a demeanor that shines through in his performance and really feels true to the man that he is portraying.  However, despite Favino being the star, the entire cast is fantastic.  Their portrayal of a variety of mafia members and family members really sets the tone early.  Additionally, Alesi as Judge Falcone is another stellar performance that really helps to move the story along.  

Everything about this movie contributes to its mood.  The cinematography, the action, the sounds or lack thereof, all help to tell this intriguing story.  The music is especially engaging and is perfectly placed to set the mood of the shot or evoke feelings.  The story itself is compelling and the fact that it is based on a true story helps you feel invested in the characters and their plight.  And the legal scenes, although they could have been fairly boring, are lively and an interesting contrast from American legal dramas.  The Italian court system is a very different world and I really enjoyed this dramatic peak into it.  The only problem with the film is that it seems to cut some corners in terms of story telling and have some very quick transitions at times.  But this is understandable for a movie that is two and a half hours long already.

The Traitor is an Italian mob epic, with amazing acting, a brutal and compelling story, and perfect music that will keep you engaged until the final shot.  

Watch It

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