The Traitor Review – Solid Italian Mob Drama Headed to OSCARS

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The Traitor, Italy’s official entry in the 92nd Academy Awards, presents the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, the first Sicilian Mafia boss, who broke the scared bond of trust and agreed to become an informant working with the prosecutor.

Directed by Marco Bellocchio, The Traitor stars Pierfrancesco Favino, Luigi Lo Cascio, Maria Fernanda Cândido, Giovanni Calcagno, Fabrizio Ferracane, Fausto Russo, Nicola Cali, Bruno Cariello, Alberto Storti, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Goffredo Maria Bruno, Gabriele Cicirello, Paride Cicirello, Alessio Pratico, Pier Giorgio Bellacchio, Rosario Palazzolo, Antonio Orlando, Ada Nistico, Federica Butera, Ludovico Caldarera, Nunzia Lo Presti, Mattei Contino, Alberto Gottuso, Tatu La Vecchia, Massi,iliano Ubaldi, Filippo Parisi, Guiseppe di Marca and Nino Porzio.


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The Traitor begins with a on screen backstory, it is the early 1980’s the world’s heroin travels through Palmero, and the two of the oldest Mob families, the Sicilian Family of Tommaso Buscetta and the Corleone family split the trade and profits.

Tonight, at a celebration both families are in the home of Sicilian Mob boss Tommaso Buscetta, played by Piersfrancesco Favino, a made man, and are celebrating a new year of continued success, money, and to bring peace between the families before the drug traffic profits create a war of greed which would end badly for everyone.

With the families celebrating, the men are eyeing each other trying to determine if they should end the bad blood or wait, Tommaso always on point and security minded, is staring at the ocean when he sees his son, Benedetto Busetta, played by Gabriele Cicirello, his oldest son lying on the sand stoned out of his mind.

As his son showed to the world his weakness, Tommaso takes him to be with the rest of his family. His third wife, Maria Cristina de Almedia Guimaraes, played by Maria Fernanda Candido, is trying to keep everyone happy while her husband, is trying to interpret the vibes from the Corleone’s.


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The two are leaving. Tommaso explains to the Pippo Calo, played by Fabrizio Ferracane, the Buscetta family accountant, he and Maria are leaving for Palermo for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He asks him to watch out over his sons. Before you know it with Tommaso in Rio, a war between the families erupt. For Maria and Tommaso the season in Rio is bountiful and they have a new son.

Without knowing of the bloodshed in Palmero, he has grown somewhat calmer, and then he receives a phone call. Just a hello, and we see his reaction. Within days he receives notification his two sons and brother were slaughtered.

This is where the film moves into the second half of the film. The Traitor retells a time when the cartels of the world where beginning billionaires and pennies drove men to slaughter entire families.

Arrested and extradited to Italy by the Brazilian police, Buscetta makes a decision that will change everything for the Mafia: He decides to meet with Judge Giovanni Falcone and betray the eternal vow he made to the Cosa Nostra.


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The film is captivating especially when the story behind it is understood beforehand. It isn’t a homage to violence and handles the high body count without adding gratuitous violence or excessive bloody scenes. I’ve seen worse gore in mainstream horror films.

A selection for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, The Traitor is Italy’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.

A solid mob film, The Traitor is similar to Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather or Martin Scorsese's Goodfellows or with a single difference, it is the true story of how and why one seemingly protected Sicilian Mob boss decides to break the sacred bond of trust and bring an end to the Cosa Nostra, as an all-out war raged between Sicilian mafia bosses over the heroin trade.


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With limited distribution, The Traitor opens in France on November 6, 2019 and in the United States January 31, 2020. It is in Italian with English subtitles.

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