For stalwarts of Italian mafia and mobster stories, Gotti may take a slower pace. It’s certainly no Goodfellas as it shines the spotlight on a father-son relationship during the height of the Gotti exploits of the 80s and 90s. John Gotti Jnr (Spencer Rocco Lofranco) idolised his father (played by John Travolta) and was torn between military training or joining the family business. While beginning the former, he takes a turn into the latter – not altogether with his father’s wishes.
Based on the book, Shadow of My Father by John A Gotti, the film’s story begins with one of Jnr’s visits to his father in prison. During his final incarceration, Gotti Snr still remained head of the family and allegedly ran the business through his son. From here the film flashes back to show Gotti Snr’s rise through the ranks to ultimately take the reins of the Gambino family in New York. All the while Gotti Jnr’s life comes to mirror his father’s, as a husband with children of his own.The story does remain more focussed on Travolta’s Gotti however – his business and his flamboyance. Travolta plays this up well with his inimitable dimpled grin. Gotti Snr, ‘The Dapper Don’ placed a lot of importance on image. He won a legion of fans with his teflon appearance and seeming good deeds within the community. News reports and footage are intercut through the story to give glimpses of this – providing the realness to help support this story.
Gotti screens as part of the American Essentials Film Festival on now at Palace Centro. Check the Festival’s website for screening details.
Directed by: Kevin Connolly
Written by: Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi
Stars: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Spencer Rocco Lofranco