Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Our Godfather’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Our Godfather’

At the end of Goodfellas, Henry Hill laments the lack of good food and longs for his mafia glory days when he was more than just a regular schmuck in witness protection. Once real life gangster Tommaso Buscetta turned informant against the Mafia, however, he never wanted any part of the mob life anymore and his days in hiding were filled with constant anxiety about the safety of his family in a world where threats could be anywhere and everywhere.

Buscetta was the first and probably most prominent mob boss to turn against the organization, helping prosecutors in Italy and the United States take down organized crime as their star witness through the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was a move that garnered a ton of media attention, which made the Witness Protection Program a more urgent reality for Buscetta and his family. Having already lost his two sons from his first marriage and multiple other close family members from Mafia retribution, he was determined to keep the rest of his family safe and hidden. He eventually passed away from cancer in 2000.

Our Godfather is mainly told from the perspective of Buscetta’s surviving family members, who are ready to come out of the shadows and tell their story after so many years have gone by. They recount the surreal nature of growing up within a seemingly normal family unit with a loving father who was also one of gangland’s most endangered species.

While we get an intimate look into this family dynamic through a bevy of home videos, the film proves to be less involving than you’d hope, mainly due to the absence of the central figure of this story. In the end, Buscetta remains an enigma – one that even his family still can’t crack.

This post was written by
After his childhood dream of playing for the Mighty Ducks fell through, Mark turned his focus to the glitz and glamour of the movies. He's covered the extensive Toronto film scene for online outlets and is a filmmaker himself, currently putting the final touches on a low-budget (okay, no-budget) short film to be released in the near future. You can also find him behind the counter as product manager of Toronto's venerable film institution, Bay Street Video.
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