The Sicilian

Despite the apparent havoc wreaked on this film by David Begelmanwho eliminated 29 minutes from Michael Cimino’s cut and reedited the remainder more for action than for the meditative rhythms the director (who reportedly used Visconti’s The Leopard as a model) had in mindthis is one of Cimino’s best films, with a fine sense of spectacle and landscape, following the bloody career of Salvatore Giuliano (effectively played by Christopher Lambert), the violent and idealistic Robin Hood of the Sicilian peasantry in the 40s. The rhetorical self-importance of Cimino’s films makes them resemble Stalinist epics, and the nonstop wallpaper music of David Mansfield certainly doesn’t help this one. But the uncredited dialogue of Gore Vidal has a cynical, bantering polish that helps to keep things in perspective, and the film’s visual sweep commands respect even when it becomes hyperbolic, which is fairly often. (Steve Shagan receives sole credit for the script, adapted from Mario Puzo’s novel.) What emerges might be described as great moments from Michael Cimino’s The Sicilian. With Terence Stamp, Joss Ackland, John Turturro, Richard Bauer, and Barbara Sukowa in her first English-speaking role. (JR)

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