Black Souls (15)
by Francesco Munzi
12th January 2016
It took me awhile to get to grips with this Mafia-based film, becoming
familiar with all the different characters - all members of the Carbone
family - based in various locations in Italy, both urban and rural. But
the effort proved worthwhile as the drama gradually unfolded.
In one of the opening scenes we see Luigi (Marco Leonardi - who played
the youngster Toto in 'Cinema Paradiso) resolving a deal with a group
of Spaniards, before we focus in on his older brother Luciano (Fabrizio
Ferracane), who wants to cut himself off from his brothers and his former
violent lifestyle, by working on his own farm in the mountain village
where the family grew up.
His peaceful idyll comes to an unexpected end when his son Leo (Giuseppe
Fumo) rifles shots at a rival family's storefront. In essence Leo wants
to be a bona-fide gangster like other members of the Carbone clan, despite
his dad desperately not wanting him to follow this path.
This act of violence re-opens old wounds between the Carbones and the
other family enraged by this pointless act.
All the Carbone brothers have different views on how to proceed with
this escalation of enmity.
Director Francesco Munzi has created a very sombre but very absorbing
film, with a number of outstanding acting performances by some of the
cast, notably Ferracane. It bears comparison with the 2008 film Gomorra,
which was based on the book Gomorrah, written by Roberto Saviano, which
exposed the secrets of the Naples Mafia. Since it was published he has
continually been under armed guard.
This is not a run-of-the-mill gangster movie. It does not reach the peaks
of the epic, The Godfather, but nevertheless is a highly accomplished
film of that genre.