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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 9 July 2017
This is an interesting film that weaves real life stories in with the lives of these Italian gangsters.

They are recruited by the Government to find Aldo Moro in 1978 who had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades.

They are later caught up in the Bologna train station bomb in 1980 which was carried out by a neo-fascist group.

It's exciting and engaging throughout the 2 hrs 30 mins with subtitles.
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on 26 April 2017
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on 19 May 2017
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This is a long film full of events. It opens with some young scallywags from Rome pinching a car and most of them getting imprisoned. They then (most hearteningly for prison reformers) engage in a number of more and more violent crimes as they climb the local drug gang scene. Naturally the single-mindedness of youth begins to bend as each member starts to go in different directions from the others. Into the by now typical tales of cheating and revenge comes an indefatigable police officer and a series of interventions from Italian political groups. If the result is a little more romantic than GOMORRAH it is no less violent and you can play a game seeing who survives. It lacks the realism of LA SCORTA and the tightness of GOODFELLAS but it is still a damned good tale.
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on 20 September 2011
Perhaps not as gritty or realistic as 'Gommorah', another Italian gangster flic of much repute, 'Romanzo Criminale' takes a more viewer friendly 'story telling' narrative similar to 'Goodfellas' or 'City of God'. So we follow our main characters, like in those forementioned films, from their childhood through to their unsightly endings with the film focusing on the toll that a life of crime brings to both their relationships with each other and their loved ones (sounds familiar, huh?). Like with 'City of God', 'Romanzo Criminale' is based on real life events so you get actual news footage of the time spliced into the film in an effort to add authenticity to proceedings. The film also has a killer soundtrack, including a very moving string score (which to my mind was very reminissant to the score in Terrance Mallick's 'The thin red line') as well as a catchy pop soundtrack which spans across 3 sperate decades. Fans of 'Goodfellas' and 'City of God' should love this film, and although in my estimation it falls a little short of these 'gangster film' classics 'Romanzo Criminale' is still an epic and engaging film that entertains throughout it's 2 and half hr+ duration.
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on 15 May 2007
If you're a fan of Scorcese and the Godfather this movie will be right up your boulevard.Telling the story of a a group of working class kids who become a criminal gang that controls the city of Rome ,its a visceral,thought provoking great movie with uniformely great performances and an epic scale that gives it a scope that makes it an even better movie watching experience.

Based on the Magliani gang who did control Rome,it spans about 20 or so years and from the early days of kidnapping local bigiwgs into drug dealing and prostitution it shows that not even the tightest relationships can survive the phrase'absolute power corrupts absolutely'as the members of the gang,Lebanese,Ice,Dandy etc begin to fall to pieces because of love,paranoia,drug addiction and the dogged efforts of the police commissioner who wants to bring them down.

Watching this i was reminded of the likes of Goodfellas,Casino,The Godfather and if you are even a passing fan of good movies this is a must .
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on 23 April 2007
This film can actually be considered a history of the recent Italian history. Although set us a conventional crime film, it tells a very unconventional real life story about a group of "street kids" from Rome that became the crimelords of the city and whose stories intertwine with national and international politics and interests. Although a very long film, clocking in at nearly three hours, the story flows and we are sucked into the lives of the characters of the film, feeling empathy and compassion for their fates. The film begins in the mid 60s with the first arrest of the boys who became the "Banda della Magliana" and ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall, encompassing all the terrorism and collusion between Mafia and politics in which the "Banda della Magliana" supposedly played a part, and for this at least the film should be cherished. Although not a great fan of recent Italian cinema I could not help but be mesmerized and overawed by this film that, had it been made in Hollywood, would have maybe rivalled the Godfather films, nevermind the Scorsese films on Mafia.

I recommend this film to anyone reading this review, hoping they might spread the word of this little gem of a film.
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on 20 February 2012
'Crime Novel' is a much missed and less known Italian gangster story, with some nice bits of action and drama in a TV styled movie epic.

Childhood friends (with their chosen nicknames Ice, Lebanese and Dandy) grow up together and form a large crime gang, vowing to take over Rome with organised crime (through gambling, drugs and prostitution).

This gang grows, gets guns and develops a nice tidy set-up, but is being hunted by determined police. One of the main three falls for a prostitute (as also does a detective). The story builds up to feuds, distrust, scamming and ultimately a deadly finale of gangster extravaganza.

The film is 2.5 hours, slick, 60's styled, racy, rude and violent. It obviously nods to and is influenced by The Godfather trilogy, Goodfellas and should please fans of other such gang and gangster driven titles (Mesrine, 36 etc). It is foreign, world cinema but in a more tale like fashion, rather than dramatic action or entertainment.

The film is so popular in Italy they created a spin-off TV series. It is NOT a Mafia film, as the gang is on a more smaller scale, telling an unconventional tale about 3 boys growing to men through 3 decades.

I would recommend this to film fans (especially world cinema) but warn it is long, demanding, light in drama and history, but rewardingly slick and likeable.
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2011
You will only have found this if you are a fan of gangster films like Mesrine - Parts 1 & 2 [DVD] [2009], City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [DVD] [2003]Elite Squad [DVD] [2008]

This is based on a true-story that starts in the 70's and takes the viewer all the way through to the 90's.

The story is interesting as a whole, however, the film doesn't make it easy to follow at all. By the end of the film, I was confused as to who was who and why they would have done some of what they did. Maybe I wasn't concentrating hard enough, but either way it meant I really didn't get it.

The gang that this film is based on really had an amazing story, even with connections up in NATO and the highest realms of the Italian secret service. however, this doesn't really come out in the film and it seems a little disjointed.

I think the film tried to do too much. It has broken the film into chapters based on the main characters in the gang. However, it still doesn't help keeping track on the finer details. It also means that as a viewer you don't really feel any connection with any of the characters.

If you really enjoy your gangster films and are willing to invest time (2.5 hours, plus additional viewings to really understand what happened) then at £2.99 (current price) this is worth it and you will enjoy it. However, additional reading (of course) will be required to fully understand the impact and story of this gang.

If you are new to the gangster film genre then don't start with this. Some of the ones listed above will be more palatable. Elite Squad is particularly good.

Hope that helps.
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on 17 October 2011
Following the rise and fall of a street gang that took over organised crime in Rome in the 70s, 80s and 90s, this movie interweaves history, politics and fiction in an epic tale of ambition and betrayal.

It's a long film, but you won't notice that. Some of the acting leaves a little to be desired, but you will overlook that. Even some of the directing is a little clunky, but the sheer passion and pace of the story will keep you watching. There are plenty of surprises, and some unexpected - and well executed - humorous parts, and the violence is visceral and no more than you would expect in a story about organised crime.

Well worth watching.
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