The Funeral

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Drama

Abel Ferrara is at it again, recasting genre conventions in the light of private theological obsessions. And his latest effort, which takes on the period gangster formula, is his most personal -- and quite possibly his finest -- film yet. Set in New York City during the 1930s, it centers on the Tempio brothers: Ray (Christopher Walken), Chez (Chris Penn)...read more

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Abel Ferrara is at it again, recasting genre conventions in the light of private theological obsessions. And his latest effort, which takes on the period gangster formula, is his most personal -- and quite possibly his finest -- film yet. Set in New York City during

the 1930s, it centers on the Tempio brothers: Ray (Christopher Walken), Chez (Chris Penn) and Johnny (Vincent Gallo), a Communist sympathizer and the family idealist. The small-time racketeers and their beleaguered wives (Annabella Sciorra and Isabella Rossellini) assemble for Johnny's funeral --

he's slain outside a movie theater, like John Dillinger -- and the brothers swear vengeance. But the list of people with good reasons to want Johnny dead is a long one, and includes rival gangster Gaspare (Benicio Del Toro). Told through a series of flashbacks, the film is a gloomy meditation on

the legacy of violence and the value of mercy in a corrupt world in which one may be granted free will, but denied God's grace. Pretty heady stuff for a gangster flick, but it all remains fairly focused and admirably restrained, given the penchant for bombast of Ferrara and long-time screenwriter

Nicholas St. John. Ken Kelsch's cinematography is a bonus, a study in dusky-toned intimacy that perfectly suits the film's somber mood.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Abel Ferrara is at it again, recasting genre conventions in the light of private theological obsessions. And his latest effort, which takes on the period gangster formula, is his most personal -- and quite possibly his finest -- film yet. Set in New York C… (more)

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