Romanzo Criminale (2005) Poster

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5/10
A missed opportunity for Italian cinema
riccap17 December 2006
I read the book some years ago, and was really excited that a movie was going to be made out of it. The plot was just perfect and the characters strong enough to work well on screen. Well the movie is quite disappointing, and not because of the script, which in a way does work (except maybe for a foreign audience who will not catch all the political implications of the movie), but for Michele Placido's poor television style of directing and (mainly) for the choice of (most) the actors. These guys should be the worst criminals Rome had ever seen, people you would not have the guts to see in the eyes, but the actors chosen are all the cool and beautiful teenager idols of Italian cinema, surely good actors, but not in the right place this time. This movie could have been a great opportunity to finally export some good Italian cinema...i'm afraid we'll have to wait much more!
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4/10
To The Criminals With Love
gabrieletaibo9 October 2005
There is long tradition in Italian cinema in which the hero is a thief or a pathetic loser or a criminal or, like in "Romanzo Criminale" all three. Part of the tradition is to humanize the beasts, to give them feelings, to make us feel for them. Here we're giving an endless romance based on the real life Magliana band, a bunch of heartless, violent thugs that dominated the Roman gangland in the 70's. Michele Placido and his script writers concoct a confused and confusing document that is as annoying, tedious and opportunistic as it is long, endless really. There is, however, one big plus in its favor, the actors. They are given a sketchy draw of their perverse characters but they go for it with body and soul. Kim Rossi Stuart's tormented Freddo exudes a cutting pain that makes you think he has a conscience. Claudio Santamaria projects danger without even trying and the "Libanese" is played by an actor totally new to me, Pierfrancesco Favino, that gives the best performance by an Italian Actor in many, many moons. Riccardo Scamarcio has a face to launch a thousand ships but unfortunately no character and Stefano Accorsi is totally unbelievable in a character that is nothing short of absurd. Explosions, production values, American style editing, but very slow pacing, a brilliant dirty photography by the great Luca Bigazzi. What a pity that with all of this talent available the end result is so mediocre.
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3/10
Criminal
leonardofilmgroup11 October 2005
I went to see "Romanzo Criminale" with very high hopes. Michele Placido made one of the best Italian films of the 90's "Un Eroe Borghese" with a superlative Fabrizio Bentivoglio. There he touched a delicate real life story and treated with the vigor of a vintage Costa Gavras. I regret to inform, none of that is evident in "Romanzo Criminale" The great bunch of young Italian actors assembled in one film! A story of friendship and betrayal, paralleled to the turbulent 70's. But something, definitely, went tragically wrong. The film seems rushed and thoughtless. Kim Rossi Stuart, one of the best of his generation, is wonderful to watch but his character swings from gloomy to gloomier and we're ask to feel compassion for him - although we're not allow to grieve for his victims. Half way through the film I started to get impatient and glancing at my watch. I felt detached, unmoved. The last nail in the coffin of this unfortunate venture is the casting of Stefano Accorsi. It may have been a commercial decision, Accorsi is a big star in Italy, but the idea backfired in a big way. His story is as convoluted as it is unbelievable. He doesn't have the strength or the power to transmit the ambiguity of his character. The women are treated as virgins or whores and what else is new. This time, I don't think, nobody can complain of lack of funds. I suspect they went for a commercial operation with fast cutting and a popular score with several well known hits from the 70's on. All together a disappointing experience.
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9/10
A misunderstood film
ciellemiller15 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
While reading the other reviews of this film, I was surprised at how many negative responses it got. For one thing, people who complain that it was too long and seemed like a miniseries...the two and a half hour version WAS a miniseries, the cinema version was epic but not that epic. I actually prefer the long version. It is true that if you watch this trying to test your Italian language skills you will be hard put to understand most of it unless you have lived in Rome. I wouldn't have compared this film to the godfather or scarface, it is very much less Hollywood. The feeling of overwhelmed connection between crime and politics, the sense of no way out, the fact that the characters seem not to be particularly penitent, all of this is very accurate, it truly does evoke modern Rome. We are so used to mafia movies, big movies that show a rise to the top, very American Dream style, then the inevitable fall, because the characters are bad and have to be punished. This film is beautiful because it is so far outside of American morality. The characters die horrible deaths not to pay for their crimes, but simply because that is a risk of the line of work they are in. The deaths reflect the characters. Lebanese started a ruthless street gang in a dirty garage, and dies full circle, on the street, no pomp or circumstance. Ice, who always seemed to be scratching at the door of escape and salvation, dies without ever reaching it, on the steps of a church. This is significant, even beautiful, but don't give too much weight to the location. There are over 400 churches in Rome. The odds of being shot in front of one if you are going to get shot in a public place are quite good. I have seen Rome's criminal underbelly firsthand. While it is no longer what it was in the 1970's, it is still a world with no master, no real mafia rule, and a great deal of political influence on its higher levels. This is a beautiful film. While watching it next time, listen to and enjoy the cadence. Romans have a beautiful way of speaking. I also feel like people haven't given quite enough credit to Santamaria's Dandy. He is one of the best young Italian actors around in my opinion, and he plays his insecure, irritating, and sometimes hateful character with such great tenderness and vulnerability.
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6/10
A Tale We Know
tributarystu18 May 2006
It's not that "Romanzo criminale" is a bad movie. It's only a movie we've seen so many times (from the Godfather to Once Upon a Time in America) done so much better.

Storywise, although it is of Italian origin, "Romanzo" is as bland as any new mafia movie, dealing with revenge, honor and family. The script is rather tedious too, with very few moments of sparkle, and even though the movie looks good, it only starts to feel like a watchable movie in its last quarter. And as if it weren't enough that the film is mediocre, it also bears resemblance to an odyssey if we are to consider its playing time and the way I, as a viewer, interpreted it.

The one interesting aspect is related to the political facet of the mafia, and especially to the situation before the fall of the communist regimes. But this definitely doesn't make up for the weak plot. All there is...is a series of events, linked to one another, sprinkled with love but far too hollow to transcend. Sadly.
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8/10
Implosive
the_rock4563 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Apparently, or so we are told, this film is based on a true story. Well, to be somewhat more accurate, it is based on a book that's based on a true story. Sounds realistic enough to me. However, once the film begins to plough through a rather well crafted cocktail of betrayal, revenge, bravery and cowardice, I couldn't help but think that if it was truly representative of a criminal reality so common, or perhaps I should say ONCE so common, to il Bel Paese, then we have all been the willing victims of decades of an overblown media spectacle.

At this point it might be borderline reasonable to ask what exactly it is that triggered this inane comment. Well, the film follows the dawn, daylight and dusk of a notorious criminal gang operating in the Italian capital throughout the whole of the 70s. All sounds fairly ordinary, and the rather obvious subject of a film, especially an Italian film. Yet, what strikes a chord is the fact that, at the end of the picture, every single gang member is shot/blown up/chopped in pieces and so forth. But, and here is the trick, not at the hand of the police or some up-and-coming criminal posse, oh no, that would be far too banal and thus, far to cinematic. They all end up shooting/blowing up/chopping EACH OTHER (in little pieces) in an enjoyably sadistic spectacle. If only this implosive, self-destructive phenomenon were a common trait of all crime-associated gangs in Italy, then the authorities really shouldn't have bothered with their pitiable attempts at bringing them to justice. It would have been enough to buy some popcorns and watch them shoot each other to death.

This might have revealed the ending of the film, hence the conscious spoiler warning, but, rest assured, it certainly does not give away the picture itself. And what a picture this is. Until now, my opinion of Placido as a director was tainted by a ridiculously large stain of scepticism. I had only watched one of his directorial efforts "Un Lungo Viaggio Chiamato Amore" and found it miserably uninteresting and, rather ignorantly, I thought that Romanzo Criminale would be no different. Well, I'm glad to say that I couldn't have been more wrong. The film is rock-solid across the board, though particular commendation indubitably goes to the actors. True, most of them are the usual suspects of watchable modern Italian cinema, but they - Favino and Santamaria in particular - still manage to do an exemplary job in this picture. The direction is also, and rather surprisingly, competent: crude, direct and, dare I say, sophisticated – well, for Italian cinema anyway.

The only, rather minor, hiccup that I couldn't help but notice is the pacing of the film. Yes, despite the stellar acting, the competent directing and a gripping, albeit somewhat repetitive, story, the film felt overly long. Perhaps, and this is nothing more than a not-so-humble hypothesis, this is because it was, in effect, overly long, with a running time of well over two hours. All considered, this is a pitifully small price to pay for such a reinvigorating bout of fresh air in the otherwise unmercifully stiff atmosphere of Italian cinema.
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6/10
OK movie, but the series is way way better!
elliesaavedra2 July 2014
This is a fictional crime story based on the exploits of the infamous "Banda Della Magliana", which terrorized the city of Rome for two entire decades. The movie is OK and it features an all-star cast and a famous director, but if you really want to see the same story brought to a much much higher level (not to mention going way deeper into the details), I strongly recommend you watch Romanzo Criminale The Series (two seasons of 12 episodes each), which is now available on Netflix, from other online sources and on DVD's.

The "condensed" story line of the movie is at times confusing and fails to successfully put the story into its historical context. Really, two hours aren't nearly enough to explain the back story and the historical references, especially to someone who didn't grow up in Italy --and particularly in Rome-- in the 1970's and 80's. So, I watched the movie years ago when it was released, and I was left with so many open questions that were only answered to my complete satisfaction once I watched the series (and yes, there are some continuity issues between the two productions, so don't think of the series as complimentary to the movie but rather as a complete retell.) I know that I'm actually ending up reviewing the series here more than the movie, but really if you watch the series, then you will find that the movie is just a brief summary of the story without much character development, despite the more famous cast and director (incidentally, Mr.Placido is credited as a creative consultant in the series.) The series, on the other hand, is one of the best small-screen productions I've ever seen, really quite up to the level of outstanding crime dramas like the Sopranos or Breaking Bad.

I would rate the movie 6/10 and the series 10/10.
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9/10
Romanzo Criminale
jroger-19 October 2005
Very good, though the story is very dramatized (and I'm Italian, so I know the story of my country).

It takes a real gangster group, link it with neo-fascist and communist actions, real characters and fictional ones, creepy cospirative figures...

It's very far from the criminal stories seen up to now in our country: the cop-movies was a genre abandoned since the '70s (they flourished in the period portrayed in Romanzo Criminale, mostly as a consequence of the feelings of the people against the political and criminal acts of these years).

But it's a very good movie, with solid story and great musics, one of the best in Italian cinematography of the last years (with "Dopo Mezzanotte / After Midnight" and "Le conseguenze dell'amore")
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7/10
A potential great movie
rexit-115 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Quite difficult a movie to rate. So i read the comments before voting. First, I don't agree with many of the comments. I read they define the movie as a mafia one and compare it with others like "The godfather". But this isn't a mafia movie. Mafia is an organization raised in southern Italy with deep historical roots, and therefore it has strict behavior codes and organization. This is a movie about a REAL band - the "banda della Magliana", a group of street-raised rogues with no common moral code that terrified Rome (and the whole Italy) in its already difficult '70. So i think the movie could be better compared with a "Scarface".

THE PROS Excellent acting, even single-void-expression Kim Rossi Stuart surprised me; I have to reconsider him. Excellent character developing: aspiring dictator Libanese, aspiring drug/ sex/business lord Dandi and aspiring normal life boy Freddo are the three "heads" of the band and perfectly represent their not having a unique aim for the band. The "no-way-out" atmosphere of the whole movie: you can perfectly feel that the characters act because they can't do in another way; call it fate, social/educational bounds, political pressure, they can't but do the things (and consequently the mistakes) you expect for them to do. Whatever they try to reach their "happyness" you know they are going to fail in the end.

THE CONS Dialogues: the characters talk with heavy use of dialect of Rome (I suppose this is done for a matter of realism) and with no noise-filtering, so i missed some part of the speeches. Historical background: as i already said this movie is about a band of rogues that acted in the '70s. I think a director is not forced to explore the historical background in its movie, but if so he should avoid historical referrings. This is the major fault of the movie: there are plenty of referrings to the happenings of those years (the bomb-explosion in Bologna train station, the Aldo Moro kidnapping) but there is no feeling with those year's atmosphere. Those were years imbued with fear and uncertainty and there is no trace of this feeling. This lack makes it an incomplete movie, just a "band of rogues" movie, while it could be an excellent portrait of both men and background. What a pity.

All these things, IMHO, make a 8/9 worth movie, get down to a 7 worth movie.
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6/10
Still don't know what to think
annaelle-simonet18 April 2006
Romanzo Criminale is a strange movie. I'm most of the time quite critical about what I see, but about this particular movie, I can't quite seem to make up my mind. I can find a thousand faults to it : the limited storyline doesn't really develop the historical and political context, the actions is sometimes quite difficult to follow, the characters are totally cliché (the-bad-gangster-guyswho falls in love with the-beautiful-virgin-mary-reincarnation, the repented hooker, the good policeman, the really bad godfathers with all their money, the villa by the sea and the twenty-five year old wife. And yet I enjoyed it. It's not the movie of the year but there's a certain something that makes it different, that saves it from being a total mess and a failure, and turns it into a mysterious movie.
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7/10
A decent film out of a brilliant novel
latinese8 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I guess other people who commented on this film were either uninformed or unfair--or both unfair and uninformed. The true story of the movie is this: the so-called Banda della Magliana is a real criminal organization which dominated the Roman underworld in the late 70s and the 80s, busy gathering immense capitals out the heroin market and protected by a web of political connections. Members of the band were used in some political murders and were good friends of powerful Sicilian mafia bosses such as Pippo Calo'. And that's history. The end of the Magliana Gang came partly because of a bloody internal war which opposed the two components of the organization, partly because of police investigations and arrests.

The novel (Romanzo criminale, by Giancarlo De Cataldo) is based on the real story. De Cataldo is a good writer and a judge. He was involved in the trial which sentenced to life prison several members of the gang. I guess this makes him quite an expert on the matter. Romanzo criminale is heavily indebted to Ellroy and to Pier Paolo Pasolini, the great Italian director, poet, novelist and essayist who was brutally slaughtered in 1975 (shortly before the birth of the Magliana Gang). De Cataldo managed to blend Ellroy's politicized hard-boiled to Pasolini's lyricism of degradation and marginality. The result is a really compelling novel which sort of continues Pasolini's exploration of Rome and its suburbs, thus reconstructing a forgotten chapter of our national history.

Then comes the film. As soon as I was told the director was Michele Placido I was totally disappointed. Placido is a decent actor but a lousy director, yet he's so popular and has such good connections he always manages to find money for his films.

But the film was much better than I expected. I even managed to stomach Stefano Accorsi's acting (talk about overrated movie stars...), because he was surrounded by such talents he was sort of neutralized. Kim Rossi Stuart was extremely good as il Freddo and Pierfrancesco Favino was a brutal and persuading Libanese (those are the two founders of the gang, whose real names are not used both in the film and in the novel). And yes, its visual aspect was absolutely good, much better than many other shoddy things made in Italy today (it's a real pity that the country of Rossellini, Pasolini, and Fellini is today reduced to producing such dreck as Benigni's and Muccino's things).

Obviously the novel is not a history book: it does not mirror perfectly the true story of the Magliana Gang. And there are many differences between the movie and the novel, especially at the beginning and at the end. All in all the film is more melodramatic than De Cataldo's novel, and the plot line has been simplified (in ways I cannot explain as to avoid spoilers). Yet it retains much of the power of the novel, also because De Cataldo was involved in writing the screenplay.

As for another commentator's remarks about criminal organization being destroyed by internal fight, not by police forces intervention, well, that's what usually happens, both in Italy and in other Western countries... unless you believe in Hollywood flicks, where Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson always defeat the black hats.
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8/10
A Crime Story well worth the read.
electricsheep6911 October 2006
I completely disagree with the last writer. I found this film to be a High speed roller-coaster following the path of Crime in the last century of Rome's history. The Brutal Violence and callous disregard for the people they prey on washes away any chance of redemption for the Protagonist Anti-hero or the group of people he moves with & the writer makes no attempt to forgive them. The film glamourises their way of life yet inevitably does not end happily with only the strongest surviving and even them eventually being cut loose by the people who pull their Machavellian strings..Sex, drugs and violence reign supreme in a film that, although not perfect, paints a vivid picture of the blood spattered underbelly of Roman society. The only faults that I could raise about it would possibly be it's length which at times drags and could perhaps have done with a slightly less flabby cut..
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9/10
hyper-realistic style, color, photography, acting were triumphant
slaterspins14 April 2009
I confess I'm not Italian and don't really have a grasp on the historical significance of the 70's in Italy though I read Moravia's A Time of Innocence (I believe that was the English translation title) and liked it. The movie looked like it was made in contemporary times and the few references to the 70's were confusing as nobody looked like they did in that period. Given that, I loved the style, color, photography and editing and found the plot absorbing and the actors great for the parts. I haven't seen the extended version, don't know what it includes, but would like to, since I was never bored for a minute and it could have been longer as far as I was concerned. Kim Rossi Stuart was great, as were the other members of the 'band', though yes, he seemed out of his element playing a 'cold-blooded' killer. But his sensitivity and decline at the end worked for me. The other guys were great, as was Anna who played Patrizia. She was pretty stunning to look at and believable - when she was on the screen my eyes never wandered. The movie reminded me of Soavi's Uno Bianca in its hypersensitive style, which I loved, though Romanzo wasn't as tight or as suspenseful, I guess. And it wasn't scary either like Soavi's Ultima Pallottola. I don't know if it makes me shallow or what, but I liked the glossy, model feel of the movie a lot. Like I like Soavi's work. For my eyes it was a cinematic feast. Its apparent failings pointed out by other reviewers as a faithful adaptation of the material about the times didn't so much matter to me as I don't know that much about them anyway. I just enjoyed the movie as if it were taking place today and I think others like me might too.
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10/10
loved it
mpenaud1 May 2006
I just fell in completely and got absorbed by the rhythm and the story. I felt the movie was a whole, the music, the way the scenes were put together gave it pace and you couldn't stay outside. Also it made me want to know more about that time and I don't think I fell for the movie simply because of a couple a cute bad guys (though I must admit that the cast is really cute).I don't buy what others said about being persuaded that these guys were nicer than they really were I'm talking about the movie as a work of fiction.The actors were really convincing and the violence shown in the movie was measured there were no unnecessary violent scenes.
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9/10
Not just a gangster film
majljnda-117 July 2007
The best Italian movie in the last 20 years. The birth and the growing of a group a of criminals told by Placido quite differently from his big previous works as "Piovra" was. A perfect synchronization of events and soundtrack that accompanies the whole film intensifying the importance of all what's happening in the Italy of those years. Extracted by fully true story that had shocked Italians in the 80' it has no documentary tones but real artistic interpretation of the facts. It is a very brave movie for telling political realities of the opaque seen by a very critical point of view . Fantastic dialogs ( even they were sometimes in-comprehensive for often in Rome's dialect ). I enjoyed this film at list 5 times in a month and I invited people to watch it. Thanks to Placido for having given to these young ( and not ) actors the possibility to demonstrate they are able to play big roles. great movie , it's a seen it's not so well distributed all over world.
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10/10
Excellent!!!
isamat9424 March 2006
this movie is great. It is the best Italian movies made for a very long time. Movies industry in that country slept for a long time, but now it wakes up!! Some in Europe compare it to Scorsese or Coppola movies and that's true. The actors are all very good, most particularly Kim Rossi Stuart and Stefano Accorsi. Michele Placido, director, did a very good job. The movie is 2h20, but you don't see the time passes through. It give a good picture of Italia in the 70's, bad time for the country, good time for the mafia. Sometimes, you might think that you're looking something close to "Godfather". It's not far away, but different. It's not about family link, but friendship. If you haven't seen that movie yet, you must!
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Disappointing
JoeytheBrit3 August 2007
Romanzo Criminale, the Italian title of this run-of the-mill gangster film, literally translates as Crime Novel, a much more prosaic handle that in many ways indicates the film's failings. In a nutshell, the film offers so much more than it actually delivers. Touted by some as an Italian 'Godfather' or 'Goodfellas' it actually looks like a TV mini-series that has been compressed (badly) into a theatrical movie running time. The direction is flat and lacks imagination, and the film fails completely to capture anything of the era it depicts. We are given few clues as to the passing of time and of the changes in the characters this passage inflicts. Coppola and Scorsese cared passionately about their projects and it shows up there on the screen, but here you're just left with the impression of someone labouring slavishly by the book. The atmospheric score is the only aspect of the film that manages to breathe even a whisper of life into the images on the screen.

Casting is also a problem. In director Michele Placido's world, nearly all criminals have catwalk looks, and bear none of the scars and hardness inherent with the life of a hardened and violent career criminal. Only the character Lebanese is remotely convincing, (his equating of criminals with the emperors of old is one of the few inspired touches in the film) but he is dispensed with much too soon. Kim Rossi Stuart broods manfully as Ice, the tragic anti-hero, but never once convinces you that he can point a gun in your face and pull the trigger.

The links between politics and crime are potentially fascinating, but they are only hesitantly - and confusingly - explored here, as if writer Cataldo is unsure of how to convey his message in the inadequate running time.

All in all, a major disappointment.
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10/10
Point of view - Paris the second of May 2006 -
l-venturelli2 May 2006
A great moment with a real truth in the way actors are playing. Without using any special effects, they succeed in making us enter one of the most cruel and violent part of Italian History. All the characters through their contradictions are touchy and very well psychologically described and built. I especially think of Mister Stefano Accorsi very famous in Italy but quite unknown for the moment in France. I discovered a great actor, really involved in his character... When I first met him, I would never have thought and guessed he could be so good at acting ! Life is strange but really amazing at times...Anyway, I spent a very great moment and also appreciated a lot the soundtrack I found really relevant and fun !!
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9/10
The Italian answer to the Godfather
drogist-sloun23 August 2006
Excellent movie!!! I didn't know what to expect of this film, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one as a whole. I didn't know any of the actors who carried their roles no worse than De Niro or Brando and made this movie so good. The music was brilliant: from "Nessun Dorma"(Puccini) to "I go to sleep" (Pretenders) and "Ballroom Blitz". The storyline is simple: a couple of street kids get thrown into jail. One of them, the Libanese, gets the idea to conquer Rome: to drugs, whores gambling, etc. They succeed in taking over the entire underworld, but it doesn't go as smoothly as it may sound. The movie lasts about two and a half hours, but there is never a dull moment. In the end, they can't keep it up. This movie is full of suspense, and may easily call itself the 21century-italian-godfather: a must-see film with top acting, superb music and great to watch.
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9/10
Italian non-Mafia gangster film
freemantle_uk26 October 2009
The most famous criminal within Italy is easily the Mafia, but here is a film that shows a crime organisation that was not link them.

Set in the 70s and 80s Romanzo Criminale tells the story of three friends Ice (Kim Rossi Stuart), Lebanese (Riccardo Scamarcio) and Dandy (Claudio Santamaria) who in the 70s rise up the Rome underworld, forming a gang to kidnap wealthy people, drug dealing and murdering the heads of rival gangs. They quickly raise to the top, with Ice and Dandy finding love on the way, Ice with a pretty young tutor Roberta (Jasmine Trinca) and Dandy with an up-market escort Patrizia (Anna Mouglalis). The gang have to face a number of threats, from Communist Terrorists, the Italian government and the very demanded police commissioner Scialoja (Stefano Accorsi).

Romanzo Criminale is a very well acted film, with excellent performances across the board. Many of the actors in the film should have a good future ahead of them. There a good action set pieces, with Michele Placido being very skilled behind the camera. The film is violence but not OTT. He pacing can be a little slow at times, but he knew what he was doing, showing both the gangster side of the film with the more personal and tender moments. However, his opening credit scene felt too much like a Guy Ritchie film and should have avoided that. They is a strong script, with a lot of elements and subplots throughout the film. They is a quite a lot to follow so needs a few viewings. The soundtrack is also very notable.

A very worthy film.
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10/10
An experience
analoguelan4 February 2007
I watched the film on DVD, which I bought in Italy with English subtitle. I wish I could have seen it on the London Film Festival yet I missed out on a cinema experience. As opposed to many others who commented on this movie I have to say that this must be amongst my all time favourites. I haven't read the book yet I think that this movie comprehends excellent characters with their human feelings, a great story and brilliant framing throughout. Yes, it might not be historically accurate but I don't think it is supposed to be since there are some black areas even in the history book itself regarding the historical background of the movie. The soundtrack works brilliantly with the story and is emotionally effective. The dialogues seem real life like ones, bringing the movie a step closer to the audience. Its length is, I believe, appropriate for the message it has to tell. It's a great experience to watch and I can only suggest anyone to watch it!
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6/10
A bit of a disappointment
kmwalshe30 November 2006
Very energetic, or rather frenetic movie, with big thematic ambitions. If only they had slowed down a bit, drawn more out of the scenes and set the characters up a bit more, then the film would have been so much better. It felt like the editor got the upper hand on the director in this one. The sinister subplot never really came to the boil either and the chap playing the Detective had the dodgiest facial hair I've seen in a movie for a very long time. You have to get the facial hair right man, it's really, really important. Funnily enough I had just watched The Consequences of Love the other night on DVD and the contrast between these two movies is pretty incredible. I'm afraid Romanzo suffers terribly in comparison and if you think about they are actually in the same genre. However I still enjoyed Romanzo and unlike the previous poster it did not drag for me which is always a good sign.
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9/10
Domination of Rome?
The_Godmother14 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has to be one of the best I've seen in 2006. It has drama, deception, betrayal, disloyalty & more all rolled into one. Each & everyone of the gang members questions their own 'friends' or 'brothers' loyalty or trust. The acting is *S*U*P*E*R*B* esp. by the talented and quite handsome Kim Rossi Stuart who stands out as the 'real man', i.e. the guy who not afraid to portray his true feelings, who wants out, wants to start afresh and so on.

The whole beauty and uniqueness of this movie includes Michele Placido's ability to portray all the five gangsters as having their own distinctive and disturbing mannerism/character. It's so effortlessly exhibited by all five gangsters who are so obsessed with greed & power. One of the gangsters (Lebanese) his idols include, Tiberius, Hitler, Mussolini et al. He wants to become like them, to dominate Rome & become no.1....but at a price!

***SPOLIERS***

Favouite parts?Has to be where Ice insists on avenging Lebanese's death and goes to extreme lengths to find his killer!The scene where Black, Dandy and Ice are in their secret hideaway discussing further plans is just so enthralling. The sheer acting & the composition of the actors is perfect and sinister. The camera couldn't have captured a better shot! Whenever a gangster died the viewer was transported back to the time when they were children, running away from the police (they stole a car!). Without a doubt was it very emotional and heartbreaking. I mean these gangsters have known each other since there were ten years old, the money became their flaw, the permanent boundary in their friendship...god...brings a tear to my eye!*sniff* aaww...another favourite scene include the part where Ice meticulously and effortlessly escapes from prison to be with roberta!it's a classic element of 'gansterism' and suspension.

IT'S A MUST SEE MOVIE! WATCH IT...BE ENTERTAINED...SICKENED (yes, it's extremely BLOODY violent!) & MORE! Definite 9/10 for the acting, cinematography, direction, characterisation, politics & more! i gotta see it again!

Time: 152mins and yes it goes by very quickly because the viewer is so glued and mesmerised by the acting and suspension!

Ciao!
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7/10
Better than expected
dave13-111 April 2012
As the history of modern (1970-95) Italy plays out - the kidnapping of Aldo Mora, the Bologna bombing etc. - a ruthless gang of outsiders are successfully muscling in on Rome's lucrative drug and gambling rackets. Meanwhile, a hard-nosed detective is tracking their activities, seeking evidence to put them away. And lurking even deeper in the background are State black ops figures who may or may not be manipulating both the criminals and the events themselves.

I was expecting the sort of cheap crime exploitation movie that proliferated in Italian cinema back in the 70s, but this is a different, much more ambitious and better type of movie. Crime Novel is structured very much like an Italian version of American Gangster. It has the same intimate yet gritty feel, the same long slow story arc, playing out over years against a background of world events; the dedicated cop who seems like the only police official who sees his duty as catching criminals rather than taking bribes; and drug dealers who see themselves as businessmen providing a service rather than villains, and most of time they are.

The focus is clearly on the gang. They grew up together in the streets. Crime and friendship are what holds them together. They have strong loyalties to those closest to them but can be ruthless to those who oppose them. Individually, they have frailties, but together they are formidable. The script is structured to provide each of the central characters with plenty of screen time, and its strong dialogue and intimate tone create very multi-dimensional and mostly sympathetic portraits.

The resulting movie is very watchable and a worthy companion piece to movies like Carlito's Way, Scarface and American Gangster. Recommended.
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8/10
Enjoyable Comtemporary Italian Cinema
ronchow11 September 2010
By chance I stumbled on a DVD copy of this film and have just finished watching it - all 150 minutes of it. The 2.5 hrs went by fast as I was absorbed by the story and the characters in it. Acting by the several actors was good, although I know none of them. Directing was smooth. The only things missing was my understanding of the political backdrop in Italy in the 70's. This knowledge would have enabled to understanding the plot better.

On the other hand, my ignorance of the director, the actors, and the backdrop time period gives me total objectivity - I watched it strictly for a cinematic experience. And I was not disappointed.
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