This must be the week for intriguing junk: first An Inconvenient Woman, and now this, a four-hour miniseries shot mostly in Italy (Italy again, too!). Vendetta is about — well, just what its title says: Model Carol Alt plays a young woman with ties to the Mafia who has spent her life looking for the man who murdered her father when she was a child.
An American living in Italy, she meets another expatriate, a charming guy played by Eric Roberts (Runaway Train). They fall in love, and Ennio De Concini’s script requires Alt to gaze at the moon and murmur, ”When I first saw him, my heart was in my throat; I was frightened, like I was dying, but it was because I was so happy.” Heart, throat, dying, happy — Carol, babe, you are one crazy, mixed-up Mafia bride.
It turns out that Roberts is the hit man who offed Alt’s dear old dad, which puts a nasty crimp in their affair. The plot is foolish, but the acting in Vendetta is engaging. Alt seems a little awkward and inexperienced, but that suits her earnest, wistful character. Roberts creates a vivid personality by swallowing his lines (“You’re playing a very dangerous game” deserves to be swallowed, don’t you think?) and by turning his hit man into a hyperactive romantic — he’s always fidgeting, fingering an unlit cigarette or a knife, bobbing up and down on the balls of his feet instead of standing still in a scene.
Roberts may simply have been trying to keep himself interested in this predictable story, but he ends up performing the same function for us. C+