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S. Epatha Merkerson
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Purportedly true story of the affair between singer Phyllis McGuire, and Mafia boss Sam Giancana, famous for his alleged connections to John F Kennedy and Frank Sinatra. Written by
Duncan Shine <Shine@Telecall.Co.Uk>
Sam Giancaca is the head of the mob that runs Las Vegas. When he meets and falls for the lead singer of a group `the McGuire sisters' he begins to drift from his day to day duties and finds his leadership compromised as the Grand Jury looms nearer.
This TVM is based on a true story - I don't know any of the characters involved so I can only take their word for that. The story focuses on the relationship between Sam and Phyllis rather than the activity of the mob itself - it has some crossover but not much. This makes it feel a little tame compared to mob films like Goodfellas etc. We never really come to understand Sam's lifestyle in terms of the violence it contains, I was certainly never fully convinced that he had blood on his hands. That said, it's still entertaining. The director gives many of Sam and Phyllis's scenes a good sense of wry humour that helps make it feel a little more acceptable. The downside is that it does leave you feeling that the mob side of his life (the main part) has been dumped in favour of the relatively minor love affair.
Turturro can't be bad even if he wanted to and he does create an interesting character. His relationship with Phyllis is not as full as it should be, so it's hard to accept his weakness for her, but he's good for the most. Parker is quite good as Phyllis, she deals well with the part for the witty romance, but when it comes to confronting what her man does she doesn't convince. Of the rest of the cast the standout is the always brilliant Elias Koteas - one of my favourite actors. My God but if the man can be good in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles then he can be good in anything! Here he is OK but doesn't have a big part at all - of course I'm biased and can't help but single him out.
Overall this was enjoyable although I didn't feel I knew anymore about Giancaca than I did at the start of the film. As a lesson it fails, as 90 diverting minutes it has several good things to offer.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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