Reviewed by nino22
on 10/09/2014 14:20

This tale of three friends, Lebanese, Ice and Dandy, is loosely based on the Banda della Magliana gang, which ran amok during Italy’s politically violent ‘Years of Lead’ in the 1970s and 80s, referring to the bombs and bullets shared between right-and left-wing terrorists. The story charts the gang’s progress from the high profile kidnapping of a wealthy baron, through to drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering and all the other healthy things gangsters engage in. As their business grows, so they attract the attention of various other playmakers, including Cosa Nostra and the secret service, steadily driving the gang’s activities into political assassinations. \r\n\r\nDelivered in achingly cool Roman dialect, Romanzo Criminale boasts enough scheming and murder to be hugely entertaining, even if it is a bit simplistic on several levels. Women appear in two forms, angel – Ice’s innocent, naïve teacher girlfriend, and devil – Dandy’s scheming prostitute-turned-girlfriend, a love interest shared by the police commissioner chasing the gang. The men too, are almost cartoon-like in their emotional depth, always blatantly struggling to keep their designated flaws in check, be they sentimentality (Ice), lust and cowardice (Dandy) or insatiable hunger for power (Lebanese). And despite the inclusion of significant events and bodies within Italian history in the narrative, such as the bombing of Bologna train station, the kidnapping of Prime Minister Aldo Moro and the freemasonic lodge Propaganda Due, the film doesn’t offer any final theories on who did what and how, beyond confirming that it is all still a bit of a mystery. But perhaps this is asking too much. For a fast ride Roman-style this is definitely worth a watch.\r\n