BASED ON AN EXPLOSIVE TRUE STORY, ONLY A FEARLESS MAN WOULD TAKEON THE MAFIA IN THEIR HOME TERRITORY OF SICILY. THOSE WHO DIE TRYING ARE CALLED EXCELLENT CADAVERS. BUT FOR GIOVANNI FALCONE, IT BECOMES AN OBSESSION FOR WHIC... more »H HE WILL RISK HIS CAREER, HISMARRIAGE AND MAYBE EVEN HIS LIFE.« less
"While the American media was having a field day with publicity about "Teflon Don" John Gotti and the Gambino crime family, across the Atlantic, in the land where the Mafia began, a group of true patriotic heros were literally putting their lives on the line, trying to rid their country of Mafia stranglehold. By viewing this movie, we come in rather at the end of that battle, which is a pity, but understandable given the time restraints of a film.By the time we are introduced to Giovanni Falcone (Chazz Palminteri) and Paolo Barsellino (Andy Lutto), they have lost fellow judges and magistrates to mob hits. When Falcone's investigation begins to turn up the heat under a few Sicilian Mafia kingpins, the very government office where he is employed confiscates the files containing his research--ironically claiming that they are needed for the investigation in the the most recent Mafia assassination of his fellow judge and friend.The tentacles of the Mafia have reached into every stratum of Sicilian society by the time this movie begins. The mob controls literally everything. As the character Tommasso Buscetta (F. Murray Abraham) explains to Falcone when they meet, that's why Sicily had highways that went nowhere, dams without water, seaports without ships. If ever the taxpayers were being robbed to support organized crime, the people of Italy and Sicily were at this time and had been for much longer.Opposing the Mafia in Sicily in the 1980's meant either political death from corrupt politicos or physical death from the mob, which makes it all the more amazing that so many brave men were willing to try their best and give their lives for their countrymen. It is abundantly clear in the movie that the people of Sicily were literally crying out to be saved from the mob, but were all too aware of the indifference, corruption and fear in high places that made that salvation all but impossible.Giovanni Falcone entered the fight in what were to be the last seven years of his life. Palminteri plays this hero-next-door beautifully, showing his faults and fears as well as his incredible strength of character. The romance between Falcone and his soon-to-be wife Francesca (Anna Galiena) is beautifully portrayed with warmth and wit. As the two of them (she is a Sicilian magistrate) take on the mob, even as they take their vows, they do so as two mature, realistic adults who know all too well that their lives may be over soon. They learn to live and love surrounded by bodyguards even though they know, as Falcone tells Buscetta, "One should bring children into the world, not orphans." At long last, Falcone gets to fulfill his dream, along with this friend Paolo Barsellimo (Andy Lutto) of completing his investigation into Mafia activity in Sicily, which ultimately leads to the indictment and conviction of more than 300 crime bosses and flunkies. Then we see the frustration build as yet another corrupt judge begins to set the covicts free from their life sentences on the slightest of technicalities. Finally, just as it appears that the government has captured and will prosecute "Toto" Reina, the mightiest of the mob bosses in Palermo, Francesca and Giovanni are assassinated themselves. Months later, Barsellino joins the group of martyrs to the cause of eliminating the Mafia. But by that time, all the people of Sicily were united in their demands that the government get serious about ending the Mafia domination of their country.This movie will end for all times the idea that "the mob" is a glamourous, exciting entity. It leaves one asking, "Just what's so good about a goodfella?"The scenery and settings in the movie deserve star billing themselves. We see Siciliy as a modern, beautiful city with a rich past--a place where most people genuinely want nothing to do with Cosa Nostra and have no respect whatsoever for those who do.I would have liked to see more background on the history of the mob in Sicily and Italy, as well as a bit more on Falcone's own background. However, it is understandable that the addition of this material would have taken away from the story being told by "Excellent Cadavers." So I have ordered Alexander Stille's book from Amazon to satisfy my curiosity in that regard. Altogether this is a very beautiful and satisfying film that proves that, after all, heroism is not a thing of the past."
A good film with an important message
takintime | 05/24/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This well-intentioned film draws strength from its real story, authentic locations, and a good cast. It's not a perfect film; its main drawbacks include a certain plodding linearity, annoying accents, and the narrow, almost claustrophobic focus on the lead character, anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. The film would have benefited from more balanced character development, particularly of the "bad guys".Shortcomings aside, Excellent Cadavers is an important movie. It chronicles the everyday heroism of the judges who one by one were assassinated, with soul-numbing regularity, by the mafia (in collusion with shadowy political supporters) to stymie the Italian government's investigations into organized crime.Given that Hollywood and the American movie-going public seem inexplicably addicted to mafia-glorifying garbage, like The Godfather, you probably won't see any other film that brings you close to the human realities of the real war against the mafia. For that reason, this film should be required viewing."
Gripping recreation of facts
Mr Vess | Cracow | 07/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because "Excellent Cadavers" - or, as it's titled in Europe and Australia, "Falcone" - is a film based on facts, you begin to watch it knowing perfectly well just what is going to happen and what the ending will be. Nevertheless, it manages to be gripping and deeply involving. The story of judge Falcone and his self-sacrificial fight against the seemingly omnipotent mafia is faithully recreated (though perhaps a little too shortened for my liking) - if marginally fictionalized - and treated with respect it deserves. The script certainly does Falcone justice, as does Chazz Palminteri's portrayal of the relentless lawman. F. Murray Abraham delivers as well, and even though he obviously does not look anything like the real Tommasso Buscetta, he convincingly portrays an old-fashioned "man of honor", a relic of the mob era when the term had an actual meaning. Victor Cavallo as Salvatore Riina, shown here as a secondary character, is worth mentioning too - Cavallo, though his role has little screen time and is in fact reduced almost to a few dialogueless cameos, manages to create a memorable, truly frightening and malevolent screen personality, perfectly recreating the nature of the real "Toto". Though this is "only" a TV production, it can certainly stand tall and proud next to any cinematic giants of the mob film genre. Highly recommended."
Must see for every mafia movie lover
takintime | 03/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For those that want something different from all those Sinatra loving american-born mafioso this is a must. The movie based on a true story and describes the life of Judge Falcone, a man dedicated in fighting the mafia in its nest, Sicily. I gave it 3stars as i find quite short and end very suddenly."
Gripping recreation of facts
Mr Vess | Cracow | 10/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because it's based on facts, you begin to watch this movie knowing perfectly well what's going to happen and what the ending will be - nevertheless, it's gripping and deeply involving. The story of judge Falcone is faithully recreated - though too shortened for my liking - and does him justice. Chazz Palminteri plays Falcone much better than I expected, and while F. Murray Abraham does not look like the real Tommasso Buscetta, he does a fair portrayal of a "man of honour". The role and part of Toto Riina, while secondary, is worth mentioning too - it's truly frightening!"