Jenn Rohm Reviews "The Traitor"
Having grown up with films glamorizing the mafia, hearing about a film that is a biographic telling of the first mafia informant in Sicily I was interested to see what writer/director Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” would sit amongst the others.
Based on the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, whom claimed to be just a solider in the Cosa Nostra but turned out to be so more in the 1980s after a number of arrests and deaths of those he cared about. Buscetta believed in the code of the family (including no harm to innocents, spouses, or children), but when he found out that there were others who did not follow the same set of rules, he chose to help the Italian authorities take down what was no longer the Cosa Nostra he grew up in as the first Mafia informant in Sicily.
This film is not a glamorization of life in organized crime like a number of others before it: this is raw and gritty with a few terrifying moments (such as a scene with two helicopters and the Brazilian police) to illustrate how dangerous a life on the run from the authorities can be. The inclusion of actual press footage in a few places as the story unfolds (like when Buscetta returns escorted back to Italy) added to the reality of this film.
There IS some jumping around in the timeline during the thirty years it covers, and I do feel I may have missed some things here and there due to this being a foreign-language film with subtitles from the Italian. I am not for sure that the subtitles were 100% accuracy in their translation, but I think it was better than being dubbed due to the passioned delivery of lines by the cast. The strong acting and production choices made in lighting, sound, cinematography, and costuming kept me from feeling like something was missing from the film. Even though this will not be for the whole family due to its content, I felt “The Traitor” was well done.