A Canadian Mafia Film
Daniel Grou’s film, “Mafia Inc.” based on André Cédilot and André Noël’s novel of the same name is a non-fiction story of two families and their rise to infamy in the Montreal Mafia. Name changes were made to protect the filmmakers backlash.
The film opens with the grand plans of mafia don Frank Paterno (Sergio Castellitto) whose family has a great opportunity to invest in a bridge that will connect Sicily with Italy. The Paternos, along with other families, will be major private investors and, in return, earn enough “clean and legal” money to become legit. Paterno has two sons, the oldest of whom is Giaco (Donny Falsetti), who is second-in-line to take over the family business.
The other family is the Gamache led by its patriarch (Gilbert Sicotte), a tailor who made suits for the Paternos for over ten years. He also has two children daughter— (Mylène Mackay), and his loose-cannon son Vincent “Vince” (Marc-André Grondin). Vince is the black sheep of the family, who at a young age, offers his services and loyalty to Frank Paterno. Both Vince and Giaco grow up as close brothers yet there is a gap with Giaco’s real family widens. While the bridge deal is forming, Vince is in Venezuela devising a plan to ship thousands of dollars in narcotics to Montreal using a bus accident and the bodies of dead children as the way to move the illegal substances.
The film involves the Paternos using their muscle to collect the cash from its clients needed for the bridge investment. Vince’s aggressive streak helps him rise quickly through the ranks of the Paterno family. Giaco is jealous due to the snub, and further complicating the family dynamic, Vince’s sister is about to marry Giaco’s younger brother. As mafia films go, there are double-crosses, a government investigation, and a series of tortures, murders, and beatings.
Made on a small budget, the film looks quite impressive. The music is a beautiful blend of old country Italian with a 90’s pop blend. The story is also very Canadian as characters easily switch between speaking English, French, and Italian in normal conversation.
There are a lot of characters and moving parts to this story, yet Grou keeps the story moving at a fast pace. The performances are excellent all around.
What makes “Mafia Inc.” work is its moments— the torture of the Greek investment banker, the capture of the snitch, a bus full of children, and horrific executions that are all over-the-top and that remain with the viewer. We see an old-fashioned crime film in a refreshing setting with the streets of America or the countryside of the old country exchanged for the suburban neighborhoods of Montreal.