Glamorous, voluptuous, and with more than a whiff of Sophia Loren about her, Angela (Donatella Finocchiaro) is the perfect trophy wife for Mafia don Saro (Mario Pupella). Running a shoe shop as a front for his drug business, where packets of cocaine are sold stuffed in shoes, Angela's not only married to the mob but part of the business.
Or so Saro would like her to think. Spying on the meetings in which she's not allowed, Angela realises she's little more than a runner, given small jobs but never any responsibility. On the outskirts of this male world, she's dripping with expensive jewellery but completely lacking in control.
And so the arrival of Masino (Andrea Di Stefano) and his attentions spark a tragic need in Angela: despite her love for her husband, she wants to feel included. But when the police swoop down on the Mafia operation, Angela is faced with a decision that will mean the end of her marriage, unless she breaks the Mafia code of Omerta (silence).
Based on real events and filmed on the gritty, urban streets of Palermo in Sicily, "Angela" captures the gritty side of the mob in a documentary style that dosen't exist in glossy American Mafia dramas. But despite a strong set up and authentic feel, the movie could do with an injection of dramatic licence.
Instead, the weight of the film rests on Finocchiaro, whose turn as the wife torn between her own desires and her allegiance to her husband is emotionally nuanced and the high point of the film.
Director Roberta Torre has skillfully blended fact with film, putting a twist on the Mafia genre and the likes of The Sopranos and "GoodFellas". But "Angela" needs more bite if it's to play alongside the big boys.
In Italian with English subtitles.
"Angela" is released in UK cinemas on Friday 15th August 2003.