Anyone who lives in Melbourne will nod when you say the words Melbourne Gangland War, but some other parts of Australia and indeed some other parts of the world are probably not as well versed in how it all began or where it’s at now, ten years later.


Underbelly is a new program airing on Channel Nine in February 2008 and it is the story of the Melbourne Gangland War. It is, quite simply, brilliant television. Vince Colosimo gives the performance of his career, it is certainly a shame he plays one of the first characters to die!

I have been lucky enough to hear John Silvester (who assisted in the production of Underbelly) speak about his experiences with these infamous men (and women) and he is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the pleasure of lending my ears to for an hour.

One of the first reviews was released today, and it agrees with me:

Colosimo is magnificent as Gangitano. His presence dominates scenes with Mafioso malevolence. Both family man and thug, he is depicted as a man driven by power and pride. He is violent, vulgar with a hint of Catholic guilt.

The streetwise dialogue by writer Tony Tilse is taut, profane and arrogant. His direction, balancing individual perspectives in a large, Greek (or rather, Italian) tragedy is expert. Images of Gangitano walking across the bonnet of a police car illustrate so much with so little. This is our own Sopranos.

If there are any criticisms to be found with Underbelly, they are few.

This aside, Underbelly looks set to be one of the highlights of the 2008 television year.

Don’t miss it.


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