Our Hollywood mafioso generally comes in one of two fun-filled flavors: the Romantic (a silent, watchful Al Pacino in The Godfather I and II) and the Comic (Joe “Do I look like a clown?” Pesci in Goodfellas).
So watching Marco Turco’s gripping documentary on Sicily’s mafia, Excellent Cadavers (available on DVD 2/19), hits like a reality-checking slap in the face, as countless bloody crime-scene photos add up to one sobering portrait of the real Cosa Nostra — a faceless, remorseless killing machine in league with a corrupt political system. Based on a 1996 book by Alexander Stille (the title is an ironic term for those prominent members of the Establishment killed by the mob), the film focuses on the efforts of two fearless prosecutors who were responsible for hundreds of convictions before being murdered in separate bombings in 1992.
As the young widow of one victim tearfully decries her hometown of Palermo as “a city of blood,” you may wonder what it was you ever saw in Paulie Walnuts.
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