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Bud S. Smith
Anthony Michael Hall,
Robert Downey Jr.,
This seven hour mini-series is based on the memories of Vittorio Mussolini, the oldest son of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The film opens in 1922 as Mussolini gathers his power through the use of his Black Shirt militia. Promoting himself as Caesar reincarnate, Il Duce gains a national fervor that peaks after the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935. In 1938, Mussolini attempted to promote peace at a Munich conference. Nonetheless he aligned himself with Hitler and drew his country into World War II. Of course, this led to his country's downfall and his total dishonor. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Contrary to the popular myth featured in this miniseries Mussolini did not make the trains on time. Most of the repair work to the Italian railway system were done before Mussolini and his fascists came into power in 1922. Mussolini was just disingenuous in taking credit for those changes. See more »
This review is based on the DVD release that has it on two double-sided discs, and comes with no extras. I do not know much about the real events, so I can't say if this is an accurate account or not. This takes us through over two decades, starting in 1922. It is a tale of love and hate, rise and fall, life and death. From the very beginning to the ending... a well-chosen and memorable final image... this is engaging. The plot is good and well-written, as is the dialog. This is excellent, in the way of its characters... thoroughly developed, credible, and it doesn't try to include a greater amount than it can do justice to. Most of the drama comes from the interactions and relationships, not from the visuals. The acting is all marvelous, and the roles are well-cast. Downey Jr. is instantly accepted as the young and energetic Bruno, Byrne as the more serious Vittorio, Mastrantonio as the strong-willed Edda, Julia is charming as ever as Galeazzo, and last but by no means least, C. Scott adds tremendous depth to the part of Benito himself, in his portrayal. The score is fitting. This has nice cinematography and editing, if neither are beyond what we've seen from other mini-series. It was an interesting choice to cut in actual footage from the time. Of course, you can tell, still, it's reasonably well added in. In spite of what the cover and this site both suggest, this is about five hours and twenty minutes long... I suppose the other count is with commercials. The violence is not excessive or graphic. Sexuality is tasteful and not gratuitous. Language is infrequent. This has disturbing content, and is not for children. I recommend this to anyone who wants a presentation of the history of Mussolini, the man and the family, in the time before, during, and until the end of, the second World War. 7/10
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