Adapted from André Cédilot and André Noël’s non-fiction novel of the same name, Mafia Inc. follows the antics of Montreal’s most influential crime family, The Paternòs.
Set predominantly in 1994, Canadian-based Sicilian Mafia patriarch Frank Paternò (Sergio Castellitto) – a deceptively-suave drug kingpin who upholds virtues of traditionalism, family and Italian pronunciation – forwards a plan to make a substantial investment in the development of a bridge that connects Sicily to Italy. The money to be made in tolls alone is expected to clear one million dollars per day!
Frank, along with his son Giaco (Donny Falsetti) and the son of Frank’s long-time tailor Vince Gamache (Marc-André Grondin), navigate the murky, deceit laden waters of Montreal’s gangster scene to go undetected, transferring $180 million towards the endeavour. Lies, jealousy and under-the-table arrangements propagated by greed (almost a given in the genre) ensue, with the mysterious (and barbaric) transportation of a lucrative narcotics run adding fuel to an already disorderly flame.
Director Daniel Grou empowers an oscillating rock-heavy score and bleak visuals to paint the mood of an underbelly on the fritz. The well-established Canadian filmmaker keeps Mafia Inc. trodding at a purposeful pace, with this only falling asunder with jarringly intertwining back and forth between the present (1994) and past (1980). Scenes of gratuitous violence appear here and there, and are tastefully administered to convey the bloody implications of mistrust and envy.
At 135 minutes, Mafia Inc. provides ample time to articulately flesh out character motivations and behaviours. The film features an array of superb performances (seldom seen women, not without leaving their impact, include Mylène Mackay), with noteworthy turns from Castellitto – refraining from ‘capeesh’ and ‘che vuoi’ gestures – successfully elevating a role ripe for caricature into something human and realised.
Intricately told and impressively acted, do what Marty says and avoid watching it on your phone.