Redemption is a tough thing to pull off in the film world. The entertainment industry is full of tales about directors and writers who were at the top of the industry only to completely fall off the radar. Most of the time the director gets back in the good graces of the critics and studios by making a low budget film that becomes an unexpected sensation. Michael Cimino had become a sensation when The Deer Hunter won him Oscar glory only to have it all go up in flames with the release of Heaven’s Gate. His Year of the Dragon hadn’t returned him to glory. Mario Puzo had also become a writing star with The Godfather. While he didn’t have a complete comedown with his work on Superman movies, he was losing luster. The duo joined forces in the mid-80s to adapt Puzo’s novel The Sicilian into a major budget motion picture.
The novel The Sicilian was part of The Godfather universe as it opens during the time when Michael Corleone was hiding out in Sicily. However since Paramount wasn’t producing the film, there was no blessing for Corleone. This film would be Godfather reference free. Salvatore Giuliano (The Highlander‘s Christopher Lambert) is an outlaw roaming the badlands of Sicily with his right hand man Gaspare “Aspanu” Pisciotta (Mr. Deeds‘ John Turturro. Salvatore gets shot during one exploit and hides inside a monastery disguised as a priest to recover. He plots out his future in this prayerful place. He will become a Robin Hood. The plot is to steal money from the government and give it to the poor so they can buy land. He also wants to liberate his beloved Sicily from Italian control. The person who really controls power on the island is mobster Don Masino Croce (A Zed & Two Noughts‘ Joss Ackland). Will Salvatore be able to tangle with the man who controls all?
The Sicilian is a puzzling film after all these years. Why Christopher Lambert? She the French actor was able to pull of Scottish in The Highlander. But he’s not quite fitting in with the local cast. The cinematography goes between beautiful shots to grainy films that look like they had forgot to bring lights to the location. Director of Photography Alex Thomson shot Alien 3 and Excalibur so why was he sloppy here? The Blu-ray contains the 146 minute director’s cut that’s 31 minutes longer than the version Fox put in the theaters. The extra half hour does add to the story. The film didn’t bring Cimino and Puzo any cinematic glory. The film is fine for a Robin Hoodlum story, but far from a masterpiece.
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the mixed quality of the negative. The audio is 5.1 & 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. The soundtrack brings out the various accents in the international casts. The movie is subtitled.
No bonus features.
Shout! Factory presents The Sicilian. Directed by Michael Cimino. Script by: Steve Shagan. Starring: Christopher Lambert, Terence Stamp & John Turturro. Rated: R. Running Time: 146 minutes. Released: March 29, 2016.
Tags: Christopher Lambert, The Sicilian