How to Become a Mob Boss Review: With Peter Dinklage narrating the intriguingly dark and satirical documentary series that is stretched out like a how-to guide, Netflix’s 6-part premiere dives into the tactics employed by notorious mob bosses over the years in their race to climb the criminal ladder of success. Diving into the trajectory of rise and fall of these infamous historical figures, the series brings up names from Al Capone to John Gotti, Pablo Escobar and others.
Releasing on November 14, 2023, the web series has been produced under the banner of Citizen Jones and Estuary Films, and it’s deemed a follow-up to former docu-series titles, How to Become a Tyrant (2021) and How to Become a Cult Leader (2023), also narrated by the Game of Thrones actor. All 6 episodes of the new title have runtime ranging between 28-33 minutes.
-How to Become a Mob Boss Netflix Review Contains Mild Spoilers-
How to Become a Mob Boss Review
Swiftly taking us on a ride through this satirically built up docu-series of 6 episodes, the latest sequel to the Netflix “How To” series pithily discusses the emergence and reigns of 6 different crime lords coming up from various backgrounds and yet ultimately united in this study of their resulting criminal dispositions.
Commencing with Al Capone’s takeover of the Chicago underworld, the following episodes respectively open up the subsequent chapters of the mafia chart. The next few episodes spell out the misdoings of heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, blood-ridden rise of Salvatore “Toto” Riina in the Sicilian Mafia, John Gotti’s flashy and dapper downfall of his design, Whitey Bulger being on the run for 16 years and then finally culminating the story time by highlighting Pablo Escobar’s ill-received fame as a drug lord-cum-politician.
By wittily breaking down the tools needed to “make a killing” and how to become the master of one’s destiny, Peter Dinklage takes charge with his sardonic introduction of these gangsters by displaying a dos/ don’ts chart inspired by their actions and the consequences they’ve had to face. All 6 episodes of the series when put together serve their intellectual role as a know-all walking encyclopedia, and while it’s a treat to learn about it all, the series works its spell merely as an extensive, yet general summary of these six people’s life stories.
Each episode title mirrors the smart reflection of chapter names that may be included in the supposed “playbook” if it were an actual physically-bound book edition. In that sense, the series has been perceptively packaged, but its inner contents hit the wall due to some commonly recognised setbacks.
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The use of animations against the utilisation of real re-enactments depersonalises the touch of the story unlike other documentaries. Moreover, since each episode swoops up the mob life story of a different “criminal titan”, it simply turns into an overarching summary for each case study instead of diversely exploring different sides of the same story that have been previously announced during each of these figures’ dark leadership back in the day. Due to this lack of zoomed-in perspective and focus on something pertinently particular, watching How to Become a Mob Boss‘ “playbook” feels quite similar to flipping through the pages of a cohesive encyclopedia on mafia bosses.
Peter Dinklage’s satirical reading, though interestingly and engagingly puts across the history chart of these criminal overlords, ends up taking the same route as the former counterparts of this Netflix “How To” series. With this witty take on the historical view, the series delivers its informative message, but it still assumes the position of a verbose lecture that’s primarily invested in getting its message across, regardless of whether this message will be held tightly in the viewer’s memory or not.
This contradictory view is exacerbated due to the message and vision left behind by the very recent premiere of Get Gotti on October 24, 2023 (read our review here), which made for yet another Netflix docu-series with a mob boss as its central figure of attention. However, it contrastingly employed neon-lit message boards and other state-of-the-art visuals and illustrations that instantly pull your attention to the screen and hold it there, unlike the common and typically plain choices made by How to Become a Mob Boss.
Diving into this viewing experience may be more beneficial if consuming the episodes individually in case of information overdose, but otherwise, each episode builds up enough intrigue for the next story that’s to follow, thereby threading the narratives together.
How to Become a Mob Boss Documentary Series: Final Thoughts
If critically looked at in isolation, How to Become a Mob Boss series puts on a great fusion and show of entertainment and knowledge, but when seen as a latter production within a trilogy, the “Mob Boss” chapter rides on the same train of techniques employed previously to complete its storytelling journey. Through its well-paced enlightening address of the topic, all 6 episodes are bound to be a delight for history buffs, but may end up being a bit too much for other casual viewers after a point, who though aided in this case due to the use of animated re-creation of the lived experiences, will eventually run out of fuel owing to the generalised stance adopted by the series.
How to Become a Mob Boss is now streaming on Netflix.
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