On October 6, 2004, FBI agents began digging up a Queens swamp in the hopes of finding the remains of the man who killed John Gotti's son. Instead, they unearthed a severed foot and other ... See full summary »

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Joe Massino
Loukas Papas ...
Donnie Brasco
Joseph D. Pistone ...
Himself
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Himself - Narrator
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On October 6, 2004, FBI agents began digging up a Queens swamp in the hopes of finding the remains of the man who killed John Gotti's son. Instead, they unearthed a severed foot and other pieces of human skeleton, along with personal effects. Forensic tests tied the remains to Mob family captains who had been killed by mob boss Joseph "Big Joey" Massino. This program documents the search which opens a window into the grisly world of the mob. Written by PBS

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16 November 2005 (USA)  »

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Interesting story that is damaged by a really poor narration
25 February 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This documentary uses the excavation of some waste land outside of New York as the starting point to look back on the investigation into the mob by the FBI that included the undercover work carried out by Joe Pistone – perhaps more famously known as Donnie Brasco.

Given the prevalence of mobsters within popular culture, it is no surprise that the truth makes for a fascinating story in many a case. And so it is with this film which was shown as a stand alone film in the UK, which charts the twenty year investigation into a massacre in 1981 and the eventual takedown of mobster Joe Massino. The film just about manages to deliver this in a way that holds the interest but it is not for the lack of trying. What I mean by this is specifically the narration, which seems to repeat everything several times throughout the hour. To give you an idea what I mean, I will shortly be reviewing the film and telling you it is OK. Now I am telling you that the film is OK. So I have told you that the film is OK and shortly will be telling you that it is interesting. Now I am telling you that it is interesting. I have told you that it is interesting and will soon be explaining some issues with the delivery. And so on and so forth – this is how the narration delivers and structures the film.

If you have made it this far into this rambling review then I applaud you but I'm sure you'll agree that it was painful to read those last few sentences. However, imagine having a narrator do that for nearly an hour. The impact on the film is to drag the enjoy out of it and break up the flow of the documentary, making it a lot less engaging than it really should have been. For me personally it also made me feel like my intelligence was under question and that the film didn't trust me to be able to understand anything without being told it three or four times. Sean Pertwee's drab narration doesn't help either.

Overall then this is an average documentary which really lets down the story and the people involved. The structure is fine and even the dramatic scenes are well used as background (preventing hammy overacting) but the overbearing narration is a major problem, crushing the story and annoying the viewer by being repetitive. Pistone and the rest of the people involved in the case deserved much better than this.


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