I read the book before I created a book review blog (kind of book review blog, I stray into other areas, occasionally) but I saw the film recently, and this is what prompted the long-after-publication book review and now reasonably topical film review. Well, as I had loved the book so much, and as the critics (in France, at least) had not been very kind to it, I was curious to see what Luc Besson had made of Malavita. A fine job, is what I think. Liberties were taken with the story line, but surprisingly few and the acting was great (Robert de Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in lead roles, so no surprises there).
Favourite scenes include the cineclub session and the barbecue. Favourite part has to be de Niro’s. As usual, the power of the visual image has taken over for me. I read Malavita again after watching the film, to see what the differences were, and of course in my mind’s eye, Manzani bears Robert de Niro’s appearance, his wife Michelle Pfeiffer’s and so on. But they did a sufficiently good for that to feel natural.
I did jib a bit at the portrayal of violence in a black humour vein. Does it glamorize violence and is it therefore a Bad Thing? Probably, but then I didn’t jib at this potential problem in the book, so I guess I shouldn’t here. I prefer the book to the film, but I was entertained and really, that’s all I want when I go to the cinema.