By Will Barber Taylor
As seen on Sky Arts and based on a true story. ´Corleone´ narrates the life of Totò Riina between 1943 and 1993. From a difficult adolescence to his rise to power within Cosa Nostra , passing via the many bloody episodes which saw his ascent.
A story which starts when, as an adolescent, the future boss powerlessly witnesses the death of his father and younger brother in the explosion of a bomb leftover from the war. From that moment on, he becomes the head of the family and will have to fight poverty. He creates a small group of extremely trusted followers with Provenzano and Bagarella, he joins up with the most powerful criminals of Corleone who climb the ladder towards mafia power, first dominating Corleone then Palermo.
These are extremely bloody events which see the conquering of power by means of unprecedented violence and hundreds of deaths. Only a childhood friend, Biagio Schirò, chooses another destiny, that of becoming a police officer and undertaking the mission of routing his ex-companion in an extremely delicate role which will make him persecutor and pursued and will lead him to run enormous risks.
Corleone´ is also the story of Riina s great enemies, the martyrs who have fought the mafia to extreme consequences, from the head of Police Mangano, to Boris Giuliano, the general Dalla Chiesa, the judges Terranova, Costa, Falcone and Borsellino, and the group of Captain Ultimo who, on January 15, 1993, will succeed in finding and arresting Totò Riina.
Corleone is a compelling and fascinating drama that mixes the complex with the simplistic – on the one hand, it is a series about the Mafia in Italy from the Second World War to the 1990s. Yet it is more than that; it is the story of a man, Totò Riina, who climbs the ranks of an organisation that has given him sanctuary and allowed him to develop power beyond his understanding. Likes Netflix series Narcos, Corleone sees the development of Riina in poor conditions who uses crime as a way out of the slums and his attempts to climb to the top of Italian society. It is this which forms the backbone of the series’ story and morals – can we really support a central character who, though born with few options, becomes such a violent criminal and who loses sight of what he once tried to achieve through legal means? It is a compelling question and one that is never fully answered.
The performance of Claudio Gioè as Totò Riina is stunning. Gioè truly become Riina; he takes on all the character and presence that Riina must have had and injects it into every scene that he is in. Gioè gives himself utterly to the character and imbues Riina with a calm, shark like stare that brings horror not only to his enemies but to the audience. It is this performance, combined with the fascinating story that makes Corleone such an addictive viewing experience.
In conclusion, Corleone is an exciting, dark and at times morally complex series which shows the ascent and fall of one of Italy’s most dangerous Mafia bosses. It weaves through both his life and the lives of those around him with such expert storytelling that it will suck you into it, whether you want to or not, and compel you to see it through to its dramatic conclusion.
With thanks to Simply Media. You can purchase Corleone here.