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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Crime > Gangster > Italy > Excellent Cadavers (2005 Documentary/First Run Features)

Excellent Cadavers (2005 Documentary/First Run Features)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Documentary: B



Based on Alexander Stille’s book about the rise, fall and restructuring of the Italy’s La Costa Nostra Mafia, Marco Turco’s Excellent Cadavers (2005) is a documentary version that shows how the organization is a unique fixture and problem in that great country.  However, it also shows how it got there, even though it never notes that the Mafia concept was invented by the Chinese.  The Italians involved only perfected it.


They may have not stayed strong after WWII, until the Allies decided to use them to keep stability in (and the Soviet Communists out) of the country, which was a major member of the opposing Axis Powers until those inside could not take it anymore and several parties within brought about the downfall of Mussolini.  However, this legitimized a culture of terror, resulting in a legacy of corrupt gangsters intertwined so much with legitimate law and government that the two could not be separated.


Deconstructing the TV and film versions of gangster life with ease, this shows how the poseurs would never survive in the real life of crime and how ingrained it became there more than just about any other country ever.  Then two men decided to try and change things and the strata of organized crime was challenged like never before.  Those men were Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who proved more people were interested in bringing their country into the 20th and 21st Centuries than many had thought.  This included a witness protection program.


Of course, the rise of this came with brave, responsible people like this and fall when Right Wing politicians who did not like independent prosecutors (sound familiar?) curtailed their power and undermined the hunt for killers and establishment of justice.  By the end in a conclusion you have to see to believe, the country’s last twist before the 92 intense minutes ends is how the country become part of the wrong side of “The New World Order,” which is in the worst possible ways, the old world order.


This is a must-see documentary, including for those who follow political science.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image has good subtitles and is compiled from many video sources, affecting the final product, which is soft, but so much footage is from RAI analog videotaped news footage that this is to be expected.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is a mix of mono and stereo, but is nicely edited like the picture and more than compelling enough to watch despite any flaws.  Extras include stills and brief text bios.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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