Mafia Inc. review: a middle of the road mob drama

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A solid, pretty safe crime drama, Mafia Inc is a bit too long but not without merits – here’s our review of the film.

With it being a popular genre, each year sees a slew of new mobster movies. Some impress, while others disappoint. This year’s Canadian crime drama Mafia Inc. does neither, feeling pretty much bang average.

Whilst the movie is enjoyable enough, it fails to do anything particularly striking to have any impact. A notable part of the problem is the story is one we have seen told hundreds of times over, with the film doing nothing new with it.

Based on journalists André Cédilot and André Noël’s bestselling exposé on Canada’s most infamous family, Mafia Inc: The Long, Bloody Reign Of Canada’s Sicilian Clan, the film digs into the criminal history of the city of Montreal. Admittedly, it doesn’t dig deep though, with the story being very much on the surface as it follows the young Vince Gamache (Marc-André Grondin) as he gets drawn into the Paternò crime family.

Desperate to impress the godfather, Vince sets out on his own, staging a big operation which sees him rise through the ranks. Of course, events take a turn as dangerous secrets are uncovered, tensions rise, and a war begins. Already, the film follows every mobster storytelling convention.

Although the story isn’t fresh, it is mostly well told, particularly in the first half, which keeps you gripped until events start sprawling over its lengthy 140-minute-long run-time. That feels excessive, and as though there’s a tighter and more enthralling story in the midst of it.

Praise does go to the actors, though. Strong performances help breathe more life into the feature, and Grondin stands out as lead character Vince, an unpredictable loose cannon who draws us in with his charisma. Meanwhile, Sergio Castellitto is strong as godfather Frank, standing tall as the head of the family with menace boiling away underneath.

Director Daniel Grou and cinematographer Steve Cosens should also be applauded for a movie that is handsomely shot, with a classic feel that looks expensive despite its modest budget.

Still, a strange blend of traditional Italian music and Joy Division – yep, you read that right – is perhaps the most unique thing about the movie, and it works beautifully. It’s just a shame Mafia Inc. didn’t take more risks outside of the soundtrack.


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