Mafia Inc review – a French-Canadian-infused Montreal mafioso tale The Godfather, eh?

February 22, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews
4

Summary

Mafia Inc is a French-Canadian-infused Montreal mafioso tale that has style to burn and an unexpected amount of depth to go along with the genre’s game of whack-a-mole.

4

Summary

Mafia Inc is a French-Canadian-infused Montreal mafioso tale that has style to burn and an unexpected amount of depth to go along with the genre’s game of whack-a-mole.

French-Canadian filmmaker Daniel Grou’s (also frequently credited as “Podz”) filmography is known for violent fare that some have claimed borders on torture p**n. The reason for this is because the nature of the violence is uncompromising. This isn’t Quentin Tarantino violence; those acrobatic feats are high-wire acts that are more thrilling than terrifying. The scenes Podz visualizes in his latest film, Mafia Inc, can be slick, even soulful, and operatic. Then, without notice and after some nervous laughter, they get to the point. Immediately and often.

There is a scene in the middle of the film that illustrates my point. Two wiseguys are arguing how to torture a rat among their ranks while their victim hangs like a slab of beef from a meat hook; he throws out the bullshit and one takes matters into his own hands. It’s more jaw-dropping for it.

The film takes a look at two French-Canadian families: The Gamache, a family of tailors that have been dressing the Paternò, a Sicilian mafia family in Montreal, for nearly three generations. Vince Gamache (Marc-André Grondin) is disowned by his father (a heartbreaking Gilbert Sicotte) as a teenager when their mother is sick with cancer and is arrested for dealing drugs. He is taken in by Frank Paternò (In Treatment’s Sergio Castellitto), the father of Vince’s best friend, Giaco (Donny Falsetti). Looking to impress his new family and earn a seat at the table, Vince begins to do something unspeakable even by Mafia standards. This put his standing and loyalties with the Paternò Mafia family in jeopardy.

Mafia Inc is a true story based on the expose Mafia Inc.: The Long, Bloody Reign of Canada’s Sicilian Clan by journalists André Cédilot and André Noël. They wrote an adaptation, along with screenwriter Sylvain Guy, that has a surprising amount of poignancy to go along with the game of whack-a-mole. It has some exposition that is unusually placed in the middle of the narrative that adds depth to their characters’ backstory.; I originally found this distracting, but later I realized it only added to the third act’s glorious showdown.

Podz is a magnetic filmmaker and holds your attention. It’s a gorgeous-looking film with style to burn and knows how to find the little moments to let the film breathe. He has an eye for detail, which paid off handsomely. It has the feel of Quebec, Canadian streets, and ports taking place in the 1990s, with an authentic sense of time and place. It’s a French-Canadian-infused Montreal mafioso tale that leaves its mark on the genre.

The cast is phenomenal here. Grondin’s Vincent is a force of nature and has a magnetism that translates on screen. The film though has an electric performance by Sergio Castellitto. Just when you think there is nothing that can rock his head of the Canadian Sicilian mob, he flips the switch into a terrifying rage. He’s cool, calculated, but capable of cut-throat actions that simmer at the surface. Yet, in a scene of human frailty, he can be deeply moving. It’s a wonderful, live-wire performance.

Mafia Inc‘s opener tells you everything you need to know about where the film is headed in terms of storytelling. It’s unexpected and draws you in with its beautifully shot scene, its juxtaposition of a beautiful rural landscape and laid upon it is an unspeakable tragedy. Podz is that rare filmmaker who finds the beauty in scenes you don’t want to see.

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