"When the Truth Needs To Be Told"
What You Need To Know:
THE TRAITOR is the Italian Oscar entry for 2020. It tells a compelling story and holds up well with its competitors, but it’s too long. The actors deliver very natural performances, and the movie’s style complements them. However, the content is excessive, with an extreme amount of bloody violence, explicit nudity and lewd content. THE TRAITOR contains some Christian, moral elements, including repentance, forgiveness and references to church, but the title character makes the final decision for himself about what is moral and immoral.
Based on the real life of Mafia informer Tommaso Buschetta, THE TRAITOR is an Italian movie. It starts out in Brazil in the 1980s. Tommaso has been living there with his family, as well as the extended family that he has within “La Cosa Nostra,” the Sicilian Mafia in Italy. He joined when he was a teenager and devoted all the loyalty in his life to this hierarchy.
However, recently the local mobsters have recently gotten into the heroin business, and the dynamic has majorly shifted. Tommaso is starting to want out, talking to one of his friends, Pippo Calo, about taking their families and moving out into the Amazon in Brazil and escaping this life of crime.
One night, Tommaso’s home is infiltrated by the Brazilian police, taking him into custody and searching his house for drugs. They decide to hand Tommaso over to authorities in Sicily, but they have to take him to the hospital for a checkup before he can leave, so that the Italian government knows that he wasn’t physically abused. On the way there, however, Tommaso begins convulsing and foaming at the mouth. His attempted suicide is unsuccessful, and he recovers in the hospital, before being flown back to Italy under the careful watch of the law.
Soon, Tommaso is introduced to his new home for an indefinite period of time, as well as the judge who will be handling his deposition, Giovanni Falcone. He has agreed to reveal secrets of the Mafia, although he repeatedly denies he’s a snitch. He claims that the values of Cosa Nostra have changed, and so he is not betraying it, everyone else has. Day after day, Judge Falcone and Tommaso sit down together and discuss the dealings of the Mafia, and the roles each person played, over espresso and cigarettes.
However, this information doesn’t come without repercussions. Two of Tommaso’s sons are murdered, as well as his sister’s husband. Chaos is erupting in all the lives of anyone associated with him, and his family is moved to a secure house that’s well guarded by the police.
Eventually, Tommaso is joined by another former member of Cosa Nostra, a man named Totuccio Contorno who has also decided to collaborate with the police. They eat dinner together and reminisce about the good times they had in other prisons before. They will soon be going to trial and will be face to face with all the men who they have exposed. Upon entering the trial, many of these men ask for the opportunity to cross examine Tommaso and Totuccio. The lies spill out of everyone’s mouth, and they yell at these two men, calling them traitors and other names. The courtroom is madness, and one man even strips his clothes off in rebellion while shouting obscenities.
The trials continue for years, even after Tommaso is moved to the United States in a witness protection program with his family. He still feels the threat of the Mafia everywhere he goes, leaving a restaurant before even ordering dinner when a guitar playing Italian sings a song that makes him suspicious.
Based on true events and real people, THE TRAITOR tells the story of the first whistleblowers of the Sicilian Mafia in Italy. The movie is the Italian entry for the 2020 Oscars. As such, it’s a worthy competitor. However, THE TRAITOR is very lengthy and sometimes feels rather repetitive, as well as difficult at times to keep track of the many names and characters. The style of the storytelling is very appealing, though, and it’s easy for viewers to get involved in the story. The actors provide very natural performances and do well to portray the real people from this time period. However, there’s an extremely high amount of graphic content throughout the movie, including scenes of bloody violence and explicit nudity. THE TRAITOR contains some Christian and moral elements. For example, there are elements of repentance and forgiveness, plus references to being raised in the Catholic Church. However, the title character decides what immorality is permissible and what is not, so THE TRAITOR has a mixed dominant worldview. Ultimately, the movie’s graphic content is excessive.