Der Professor (1986)

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Der Professor: Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. With Ben Gazzara, Laura del Sol, Leo Gullotta, Marzio Honorato. Vaguely inspired to the real story of boss of the Camorra’s bosses Raffaele Cutolo, this is the story of the criminal career of “Il professore” (the professor). He is in prison, and by there he is able to build, step by step, an empire founded on murders and drugs. He starts a war to destroy all the old Camorra bosses and becoming the new “boss of the bosses”. With his sister’s help he manages to evade from prison and escape in New York. Here he starts immediately a new relationship with “Cosa Nostra” (Italian American Mafia). He is going to seat on the peak of the most powerful criminal organization, and the Italian authorities are almost impotent.

“Whenever I watch Ben Gazzara, he always commands my interest. Thereu0026#39;s this sort of ambiguous charisma, this late great actor had, even when first seeing him do the nasty in Roadhouse. Here, in this mafioso, mostly fictive tale, drawn from real accounts (this movie which surprisingly made in 86, in contrast to the wonderful olden settings) Gazzara plays a really manipulative mafioso character, where the real true colors of his character, surface, halfway through the film (which has the exact same running time as Goodfellas) and theyu0026#39;re ugly. Gazzara of course, stands out too, as this is a Italian production, where save for him, all the other actors are Italian. The Professor is not your average mafioso boss, heu0026#39;s a planner, who uses his noggen, while of course paying some hard prison time, for a domestic involving his sister, being felt up, that went inexplicably wrong. The movie really gets juicy in itu0026#39;s second half, as well as bloody, with Gazzara escaping from the mental sector of the prison, where freedom and fresh air, do him the world of good. He becomes head of the camorra, running protection rackets, you name it, in a shocking display of greed and power, where he becomes responsible for 100 deaths, due to late over payments, or people going up against him, where itu0026#39;s not a smart move. One scene has him looking into a widow and her sons eyes, then waving at the son, where the widow, then spits at him, returning a much understandable malice, a back window of bus, separating them. The filmu0026#39;s almost like Scarface and King Of New York revisited, but this much lesser known vehicle, must be seem, by lovers of mafia type/Scorsese films, etc, especially with Gazzara. The final scene, with Gazzara back in the hole, strangely unforgettable. There are moments that are very compacted with stuff, montages, etc. much like Goodfellas and Casino, but that really doesnu0026#39;t count as a fault, this very well made film, hardly having any.”

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