‘The Traitor’ Review: An Honorable but Exasperating Biopic About the First Mob Boss to Inform on the Mafia

‘The Traitor’ Review: An Honorable but Exasperating Biopic About the First Mob Boss to Inform on the Mafia
Almost an hour into Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” — a lively but scattershot and exasperating biopic about Tommaso Buscetta, the first Sicilian mob boss to become an informant for the authorities — the film’s charismatic protagonist (Pierfrancesco Favino) tells an interrogator a story about one of the first men he was ever assigned to kill. Bellocchio then cuts to a brief flashback that offers us more about his subject than the rest of this two-and-a-half hour film combined. The young Buscetta sees his target across a courtyard, and his target sees him. Knowing that Buscetta is there to kill him, the man takes his baby son into his arms for protection, hoping that his assassin wouldn’t risk endangering the life of an innocent child. Buscetta, a dignified man who sincerely believes his beloved Cosa Nostra was once a society of honor, can’t bring himself to take the shot.
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