Thursday, 31 March 2011

Staten Island

I am beginning this week’s Mafia Fest with Staten Island, the film although it features Staten Island the place. The largest New York District in terms of area but the smallest with under half a million citizens. Paul Castellano – Gambino Crime Boss, lived in the Todt Hill, Staten Island Buried in Moravian Cemetery in unmarked grave. Sammy "The Bull" Gravano – mob turncoat also lived on Staten Island as did the Watergate White House Jeb Magruder:

This 2009 film was only released in New York before going to DVD. The story involves three residents of the state who interact. Staten Island Mafia crew boss Parmie played by Vincent D’Onofrio decides that he wants to expand and become boss of all Staten Island against the advice of his closest associates. He lives with his invalid mother.

Sully is a regular guy who clears septic tanks for a living and has been trying with his wife to have their first child. Test reveals that she has an internal problem where the right position should solve the problem but at the fertility clinic Sully learns of special facility which costs $50000 to produce a child which enhances genes to create an above average achiever and which uses artificial insemination. But how can he raise the money. He discusses the problem with his work partner who knows the right individual to carry out a theft on the home of the Mafia boss when he is not there and the alarm is not turned on. The mission is successful in that the take is over $100000 dollars except that the woman is shot in the shoulder. This results in Parmie’s work colleague being captured and tortured to death and Parmie going on the run but only after the procedure is successful and his wife has become pregnant.

The third resident is Jasper who manages a Deli where he makes his own sausages. He is a deaf mute who spends all his spare time keeping records on horse racing and the betting long odds accumulators unsuccessfully. He earns the money for his gambling by chopping up Parmie victims and where we are left to speculate that the remains and then used in the Deli! He dislikes Parmie intensely and when he wins big at the race track he used part of the money to hire an assassin to kill Parmie. Unfortunately Parmie is only grazed and although his car goes into a lake he survives because he has been training to break the world record for holding breadth under water.

When he recovers he finds himself in the midst of a large woodland area part of which is being cut down to make way for development and where a protestor has created a tree platform. He persuades a motorist to drive him back to restaurant bar he uses as an operational base only to discover his associates have joined forces with the main Mafia boss on the Island against him. He devises a plan to protect himself by changing into a white suit climbing onto the tree top platform and proclaiming to the authorities his conversion to saving the trees. The authorities decide on a media clamp down but after a while one journalist manages to interview with the help of the policeman on duty. The follow day the story is national news and he wakes to be greeted by hundreds of others attaching themselves to threatened trees. The Mayor and city authorities intervene and the woodland is saved. Parmie returns home believing that he is protected.

Jasper is then asked to do another slicing up job and this is Sully who Jasper has been friends with. Sully then sets out and successfully assassinates Parmie and a carload of associates and rivals. The films ends with Sully’s wife and walking age child visiting the new parkland which Jasper helped create. The child runs away from his mother falls over. Jasper helps him up and mother first criticises why he did not call out to her until he explains that he is deaf and dumb. The child immediately communicates using sign language to the amazement of his mother thus demonstrating that the gene enhancement programme worked. This therefore is a black comedy and at the level of intention I thought the film is successful although quickly forgotten

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