At once grounded in reality and dizzyingly heightened, Rosi’s film makes use of slow motion in operatic flashbacks of mafia assignations (probably an influence on similar montages in Scorsese’s gangster films). Gian Maria Volenté is captivating as Luciano—cool, calculating, and insidiously charismatic.
The late Francesco Rosi's answer to The Godfather is an authentic, didactic and pugnacious odyssey through post-war Italian and American politics and gangsterism. It avoids any sense of an epic family saga and instead evinces the filmmaker's life-long interest in social systems, in this case the way organized crime and government walk hand in hand. While Coppola's saga focused on family dynamics, in Lucky Luciano (1973) the sights are set squarely on the mechanisms of power in the western world.