TV Review: AMC’s “Making of the Mob: New York”

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For several decades, the mob has been one of the most well oiled criminal organizations in American history. The entire crime family concept was the brainchild of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, the main character in AMC’s docu-hybrid: “The Making of the Mob: New York.” But how does AMC’s “Making of the Mob” stack up to the other mob documentaries?

While “Making of the Mob” provides quality drama similar to HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” the documentary side of “Making of the Mob” is a little thin.

Unlike traditional documentaries, “The Making of the Mob: New York” attempts to tell the story of the rise of the American mob through actors reenacting historical scenes. The typical archival footage and interviews are still in there but the addition of these scenes feels more like a TV movie than an actual documentary. Through Ray Liotta’s narrative storytelling you’ll learn about the history of the mob, but don’t expect anything too comprehensive.

That’s because instead of getting insight from mostly mob experts, “Making of the Mob” also brings in actors who have played mobsters in movies and television. Although, hypothetically, these actors did some sort of research for their roles, adding actors decreases the credibility of the documentary. Having famous faces such as Rudy Giuliani (who was New York’s district attorney when he took down the mob) and Frankie Valli (who was friends with mobster Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo”) made more sense talking about the history of the mob than actors.

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However, this docudrama is very captivating with the way it gets you to feel about the show’s three main characters. “Making of the Mob” builds the suspense through the typical mob series tactic of “is this character going to live or die?” In order for this tactic to work, the audience must be engrossed with the lives of Luciano, Lansky and Siegel. “Making of the Mob” does a good job of making audiences root for them by making them feel like underdogs. Also, Luciano, Lanksy, Siegel, Costello and Genovese’s rise to power is the type of story that Hollywood conceives but it really did happen. Botched heists, gang wars, assassinations and backstabbing are the types of storylines that you’ll see in the first two episodes alone.

Overall, “Making of the Mob: New York” would work better as a docudrama than a hybrid documentary. Although the concept is good on paper, don’t expect anything comprehensive when you’re learning about the history of the mob. Go in expecting to learn about the mob as you would watching Goodfellas or Public Enemies.

Rating: 3.5/5
NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1399 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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