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Among the best movies in cinema history.
And that's because it subtly educates the viewer on the abject fraud of the Ponzi financial and monetary system, which many imo still do not understand. _Money as Debt_ and _The Moneymasters_ are two other (non-fiction) titles worth viewing for further background.
This movie's timing could not have been better, given the global financial system meltdown currently underway, as a result of yet another Ponzi scam, to wit, the astronomical heap of worthless over-the-counter derivatives piled on top of garbage debt-backed paper of all sorts (securitized mortgage loans, auto loans, credit card debt, etc.).
I think the script wastes a bit of time at the beginning with details about the main character that aren't really relevant to the story, and over the course of the last 10-15 minutes when building up toward a denouement which I would've preferred had been different. Nevertheless, I'd give it a 100 points if I could, for the way it masterfully weaves a subject that most people don't want hear about because it bores them, into an extremely entertaining fictional story brimming with a plethora of unique, charismatic and hilarious characters. Even the most despicable character radiates uproarious charm.
Bonanno: A Godfather's Story (1999)
Great Script + Great Production = Great Movie.
You could say I'm biased a) because my grandparents were Sicilian and b) because I love the genre. I also have a screenplay about my grandparents' story, and I see sections my own script magnificently produced in many scenes of this movie.
Some comments are negative because they claim the movie "glorifies" criminals. Personally, I don't agree with that view. In any event, regardless of the value judgments one might pass, this movie is full of merit for many reasons.
It is a wonderful time piece, taking us from Sicily of the early 1900s to the US of the 1990s. The sets are wonderful, the wardrobe outstanding. And the actors are excellent, except for the man playing Joe Masseria, who I think overacted a bit. Although, perhaps that's what Masseria was like.
The script, the critical element that truly makes (or breaks) a film, IMO is also very good. In addition to telling the story it has to tell, it includes a bonus. And that is small tidbits of "universal wisdom," if you will.
- The importance of one's word. The movie evokes a time when that meant a great deal, in contrast to current times.
- The importance of never forgetting those who have lent you a hand in the past, and expressing gratitude for it by returning the favor when the opportunity arises.
- Maxims such as "When it's your life that's on the line, you can only trust yourself".
Perhaps a 10 is a tad too generous, but I'd give it no less than a 9.
The reason it gets a 10 is as kudos for having produced a great script. Great scripts of all genres need to be produced, and not the garbage that keeps getting cranked out. The saying goes, "you can have a bad movie with a good script, but you can't have a good movie with a bad script." In this case, we have a great script and great production, which equals a great movie.