April 10, 2015

Black Souls (2014)

Black Souls (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Francesco Munzi
Country: Italy

Movie Review: In this screen adaptation of Gioacchino Criaco’s novel, director and co-writer Francesco Munzi retrieves the essential aspects that compose the traditional Italian Mafia pictures – family, power, honor, pride, and vengeance. With some atmospheric resemblances to Francesco Rosi’s cinema, he tells the story of three brothers from rural Calabria whose choices and postures lead them to different lives. The eldest, Luciano (Fabrizio Ferracane), lives quietly on his farm but gets constantly worried about his troublesome adolescent son, Leo (Giuseppe Fumo); Rocco (Peppino Mazzotta) and Luigi (Marco Leonardi) live in Milan where they established a small illicit organization. The former is the brain of this disguised pineapple distribution company, showing a calculative and prudent posture, while the latter is carefree and shares the same sneaky way of thinking of his nephew Leo who visits his uncles, against the will of his father, to learn and earn his place and respect. Somehow, this fierce young lad will be co-responsible for the family’s decadence. Mr. Munzi takes his time to span every character, giving us the precise notion of their scope of actions. Adopting cavernous tones and comfortless images, the film appeals more to the intellect than properly to the eyes. Its narrative is solidly constructed and some details help to contextualize and understand what’s going on in the family - mostly being a film of men, there are some powerful feminine presences, especially the critical and jittery Rocco’s wife, Valeria (Barbora Bobulova). The startling finale comes to be crucial, elevating the film from its apparent languorous state. It’s an obscure and pertinent glimpse at the Calabrian Mafia known as ‘Ndrangheta.

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