Individual politicians, detectives, and mafiosi come and go so quickly that the audience doesn't have enough time to become emotionally invested in their lives and deaths.
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Diliberto has managed to make a political comedy that seems at once tremendously funny and intensely serious — a provocative, and perhaps even important, combination.
Ambitious, sometimes clever but largely sputtering, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer works better as a childhood memory piece than as an adult tale of love and larceny.
There are moments when audiences will wonder if laughing about gangland whackings isn’t in bad taste, yet it becomes increasingly clear that the helmer-scripter is using humor to cut Mafia bosses down to size, thereby turning an accusatory glare at an Italy that granted these people power.
The swings from goofy to gory and jokey to tragic cancel one another out, and Mr. Diliberto’s near-constant voice-over is irksome. As is the pivotal romance.
With a deft touch that veers from wry, absurd humor to appalled outrage, the Italian journalist and satirist Pierfrancesco Diliberto makes a noteworthy film debut with The Mafia Kills Only in the Summer.
It’s an awkward balancing act. The result is more Benigni than Bertolucci, and though Diliberto achieves moments of poignancy and touches on insightful psychological truths, it doesn’t look like he’ll be winning any Oscars soon.
Though heavy-handed in places, The Mafia Only Kills in Summer is a generally charming and engrossing debut feature.
The line between ha-ha funny and sorrowful reverence has been crossed - more deftly than you'd think.