The Ruthless (2019)

Modern Italian cinema and I don't get along very well so, unless it has Alessandro Gassmann, I make sure to stay away from those movies But then the other day, and by the other day I mean April 19, The Ruthless (Italian: Lo spietato) popped up on my Netflix homepage and since it stars Riccardo Scamarcio — I have a crush on him since I waw thirteen —, and I read many positive reviews, I checked it out. 

The film tells the story of Santo Russo (Riccardo Scamarcio), the son of a former member (Angelo Libri) of the 'Ndrangheta who. Moved with his family in Milan at the age of sixteen, one New Year's Eve, Santo (Lorenzo De Iullo) makes the foolish mistake of disobeying his overbearing father and, although innocent, he ends up spending four months in prison. During his stay, he has his first encounter with Milan's underworld and befriends another Calabrese teenager, Slim (Damiano Lauria). The story then jumps years forward and follows Santo as he makes a name for himself. 

Plot-wise, there is absolutely nothing original about The Ruthless as it tells the story of an ambitious kid who grows into a rich mobster and then everything spirals out of control which has been done to death by most gangster movies out there. Its repetitiveness, however, is not the reason I didn't found the story particularly compelling. The fact is that, while the coming-of-age is quite interesting to follow, the storytelling is mediocre to say the least and, as it follows its predictable course, the story becomes more and more tedious, almost unbearable. 

Thankfully, The Ruthless has some interesting characters. Actually, it has actors who know what they are doing. While Santo Russo is the stereotyped ambitious young man who wants to become somebody, Riccardo Scamarcio gives a very compelling performance as the cocky criminal who credits his crime life to his father. Very handsome and very charismatic, he does a wonderful job at portraying his character's brutality and infuses the character with a dose of irony that fits the film very well. As for the supporting cast, Sara Serraiocco shines in the role of Mariangela, the innocent young girl who falls for Santo, gets pregnant and marries him, and Marie-Ange Casta — Letitia's sister — does a pretty good job as Annabelle, the Franch artist who becomes Santo's lover. I was not a fan of Alessandro Tedeschi though as his performance reminded me a lot of Francesco Scianna's in the series The Mafia Kills Only in Summer — the way he talks, the way he acts, the way he looks. For a moment I actually thought it was the same actor.

In addition to the solid acting, The Ruthless can claim beautiful colours, cinematography, cool clothes and a killer soundtrack that combines originals from Riccardo Sinigallia and some beautiful Italian songs from the 80s, like Raf's "Self Control"

Unfortunately, the cool 80s vibe the film has, the visuals and the acting are not enough to make The Ruthless stand out from the other gangster movies. 

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