Italy seems to be one step ahead in the production of quality crime films. After the majestic Suburra (2015), this film transfers the viewer to the Italian south where we are introduced to the three protagonists, the brothers Luciano, Rocco, and Luigi who spend their lives inside the omnipotent organized crime complex known as Ndrangheta (the word is derived from the Greek synonym of bravery). Luciano is retired from this kind of lifestyle and is now devoted to his family, consisting of a young son, Leo, who seems eager to follow the steps of his criminal uncles.
There is nothing flashy or glamorizing about the film's depiction of the mafia lifestyle, as Black Souls (original title: Anime Nere) is a rather reserved, character-based movie placing the emphasis on the problematic family dynamics and the emotional ordeals of the main characters. This is also supported by the stellar performances of all the main actors -in my opinion, Marco Leonardi stands out as the mercurial and tough Luigi- while the direction and cinematography are exquisite, using the beautiful landscape as a marker of the protagonists' changing feelings. If you are looking for another Goodfellas rip-off, better stay away from this thought-provoking, emotionally charged Italian gem. This is a movie destined for the genuine lovers of the medium.