Netflix’s meek regurgitation of the cinematic Mafia revenge trope
My Name is Vendetta might have a different name and setting but it eventually gets to the same point Mafia movies have for decades. The genre has seen some admirable innovations in plot & character. Even television has developed the spine to sink its teeth into this enigmatic and charming world of crime and violence. But this Italian film is surely not one of them. For all of its big chasing sequences and killing, My Name is Vendetta cannot escape the legacy or the logistics of Mafia movie tropes.
The predictability element is quite astonishing. Perhaps until the point Sofia (Ginevra Francisconi) takes Santo’s (Alessandro Gassmann)picture and uploads it on Instagram, we expected a differentiation. After that happened, the film descended into mediocrity and could never scrape its way back. The Mafia genre is such that characters can be written in various ways to make you feel something different as a viewer and mean something else. Maybe even the same thing that My Name is Vendetta tries to drive home. But the screenplay here has etched Sofia, Santo, and Angelo’s fate in stone. And the substance is not compelling.
Director Cosimo Gomez has worn many hats before taking the director’s chair. He has worked in set design, costume, and even the art department in films before. Although he has a decent track record in those roles, his ventures into directing have been disappointing, to say the least. Both his other features (Io e Spottyy and Ugly Nasty People) have lost momentum and given up unique positions in storytelling to genre conventions. His latest film also suffered from that syndrome.
The central problem remains the writing and what Gomez prioritizes in his cinematic universe. The latter seems to be mismatched and hints towards him getting caught in taking a firm creative decision. If you decide to wrap up the foundations of the vendetta within the first 15 minutes, you can singularly focus on curating stylish-looking action scenes. For those action enthusiasts, this movie could have worked well if that part were indeed true. But in reality, it is not. Santo goes about wading off Angelo’s men in a dull fashion. This, unfortunately, extended even to the climax, making it a huge disappointment.
It was almost as if we were watching an uninterested gamer playing a video game where he knew exactly how the mission is to be carried out. Because he has done it umpteen times before that. If you are indeed not wrapping up the motivations for vendetta in the first 15 (which did not happen here), go ahead and focus on character development. Let the action take a spell on the sidelines. Balancing the two is a rare art and something we did not expect going into the film. Very few before Gomez have managed that successfully and perhaps his non-committal proves how difficult it is.
With either choice, you need good writing to back you up. There is only so much you can do as a director. But Gomez is a part of the trio who pen this movie and that is why his share of the blame is more. There is no punch in the dialogue. When two characters chat, we do not see any to-and-fro or rhythm to give energy to the storytelling. The biggest miss is undoubtedly the lack of big moments that can sway viewers. From how My Name is Vendetta ends, the actual point of attention was Sofia’s coming of age.
But the realization for the viewer hits very late in the film. By that time, you will have already made up your mind and there is little to redeem. The problems with My Name is Vendetta are fundamental, albeit the biggest one is that it neither falls into the category of slow-burn serious-minded dramas redefining the genre, nor into the category of fast-paced action and thrills-filled entertainment fiesta to get you excited. It stays somewhere in between, which is the worst place to end up.
Read More: My Name Is Vendetta Ending Explained
Verdict - 5/10