That's not all co-writer/director Jennifer Chambers Lynch (daughter of David) has up her sleeve, however. The film's most disturbing moments come from the actions of two of the police officers involved (Kent Harper and French Stewart). They pass the time by harassing passing motorists. And by harassing I mean destruction of property, robbery, and borderline sexual assault. The actions of the killers seem, oddly, a shade more humane by comparison. They were never tasked with "serve and protect," so it's not as disappointing when they don't.
The film sets up this dichotomy, but never really explores it, which is also a little disappointing.
Oh, this is also one of the few times you'll ever hear yourself saying "That scene with French Stewart and Cheri Oteri just creeped me the fuck out."
What is it about Italian crime lords that makes for great cinema? In this case the crime lord in question is actually a politician, the real life Giulio Andreotti, a seven-time prime minister and senator-for-life in Rome for the past few decades who, during that time, has been connected (just not in a prosecutable way) to every illegal activity, um, ever.
Toni Servillo turns in a stellar performance as Andreotti, who is not what you'd expect. Instead of Michael, or even Vito Corleone, picture an Italian Henry Kissinger. Very closed off. Very witty. Not at all violent (he outsources that shit). And, as the movie wears on, very conflicted. In a scene that essentially serves as his confession, he breaks his reserve for one moment to defend what he believes is evil in the service of good.
Writer/Director Paolo Sorrentino is one to watch (actually he's been at this since '98, so I'm late to the party). Holy crap. In the first hour of this film he manages to evoke Scorsese, Woo, Leone and, more often than not, Wes Anderson without once seeming derivative.
By the end of the film, though, things do drag a bit. Part of this is due to the fact that the fall of a criminal organization is inevitably less entertaining than the "Hey, everything's awesome!" phase. Still, a must see.