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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

From the day a group of kids steal a car in suburban Rome in the 1970s, their violent and ruthless life is laid out before them.
Years later, as young adults, Lebanese (Favino), Ice (Stuart) and Dandy (Santamaria) build a gang of rogues and push to take control of the capital’s criminal underworld.
One by one, they each have a go at being in charge, until fate decides that it’s time for change.
Lebanese is the most masochistic of the three – his reign is all about frightening off the opposition with an unmatched ferocity. As his name would suggest, Ice is considerably cooler –when he’s in charge, weapons almost seem to be used only as a last resort, but he still manages to instil fear in his rivals. Then there’s Dandy, who’s more interested in the power and riches that emerge from their decades-long reign of terror.
This film follows the gang through the years, as their fortunes rise and fall – financially, emotionally and politically.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This long and powerful drama is divided into sections – one for each of the three main characters as he leads the gang until fate intervenes.
Alliances are forged, betrayals abound, prostitutes become girlfriends, first of the gangsters and then of the police who are trying to catch them, the storylines swing violently from uncontrollable passion to immeasurable brutality.
Setting it against the background of historical events – such as the Bologna station bombing, the kidnapping of Aldo Moro and Italy’s 1982 World Cup win – and at times, linking the characters to the events, gives the film an interesting perspective.
The director should perhaps have taken a knife to the film, in much the same way as his characters take knifes to their foes’ necks; running, as it does, at more than two and a half hours, it’s a bit of an endurance.
But on the whole, it’s worth sticking with it, for some powerful dramatic moments.
It is at once a shocking, blood-spilling gangster movie and a poetically beautiful historical drama.

opens nationwide 3rd November 2006

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