A story of family, loyalty, deceit, power, greed, and ultimately revenge. Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto is a criminal anomaly. Determined to bring peace to the disparate wings of the Montreal crime world of the day, Rizzuto successfully unifies them, serving as a de facto CEO while ensuring a lucrative payday for all. When Rizzuto is suddenly arrested and extradited to Colorado's Supermax Prison for the 1981 murders of three Bonanno crime family members, the powerful empire he built begins to crumble. Rizzuto watches helplessly until his release from prison in October 2012, when a Shakespearean tale of revenge begins to unfold.
Perhaps it is unfair to evaluate performances and presentation, but mood is lost when we leave a dramatic scene for a yogurt commercial. But beyond that, there is something oddly flat and pedestrian about this effort. It is interesting to examine the true-life underside of Montreal--the U.S. does not have sole rights to mobsters--but the gravitas of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire is sadly wanting here. The still images in the opening credits, particularly Kim Coates (with that vampire-like hooded,coloured eye business)and Paul Sorvino looking like a menacing bulldog provides unfulfilled promise of true explosive threat and menace thatwe expect out of the principals. They aren't helped by a plain-Jane script that doesn't allow for much layering or nuance. The series TALKS rather than really SHOWS. Dialogue provides by-the-numbers exposition. A lot of the acting comes off as theatrical vs authentic. Certainly there are violent scenes but they don't really resonate. The female characters in particular are ill-served---whether a crusading lawyer or politician or mistress---come off as either overly shrill or whiny, whereas no-nonsense street-wise savvy and seductiveness are non-existent. The males do not get off unscathed either, lacking in depth. Scenes of meetings with other mobsters have groups of guys trying real hard to LOOK tough and mean like movie standees trying to exude explosive menace. Using slow motion whenever Anthony Lapaglia strolls around is to suggest a bigger-than-life cold-blooded ruthless lion but we don't FEEL it. (The same approach was used when Colm Feore portrayed Pierre Trudeau several years ago, much to the same toothless effect--no fault in effort by Mr. Feore.) We want to see more home-grown Canadian productions but to distinguish themselves against non-commercial cable networks is a challenge.
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