The Funeral – Film Review

May I simply state firstly how amazing the cast was in this Abel Ferrera Film. Not only do we have Christopher Walken in it (AKA the guy in every other film), but there’s also cats like Benicio Del Toro (saw him recently in Inherent Vice), Chris Penn (loved him in Reservoir Dogs!), Isabella Rossellini, who I thought was fantastic in Blue Velvet, and the crème de la crème – Vincent Gallo was in it, who is one of my favourite actors (I know, I’m ostentatious, but who cares?).

Let’s just crack on with the review shall we?

Johnny (Vincent Gallo) has been murdered by a mystery person. His brother’s initially think that it is the doing of the leader of their main rival gang, Gaspare (Benicio Del Toro), but then find out it is some other punk who did it, and beat him to a pulp to get him to cough up his reasons for doing so. He explains to the brother’s, Ray and Chez (Christopher Walken & Chris Penn), how he only shot him because Johnny had raped his girlfriend. They bought his confession – Johnny had a reputation with the ladies, as Chez knows (he’d recently brought home Gaspare’s wife to fornicate with) – but when Ray, the eldest brother, takes the killer to an undisclosed bit of barren land, the truth is spilled and he tells Ray that Johnny never did rape his girlfriend. Before all this came about, Ray’s wife got Ray to promise that he wouldn’t avenge the murder of his brother. But the moment was too much for him (I imagine, on the inside) and Ray fires bullets into the son-of-a-gun, sending him straight where he sent Johnny.You’d think the worst was over by then when watching this film, but then we’re brought back to the present day (the movie bounces back and forth like a yo-yo, but it’s easy to establish where we are in that moment; and boy o’ boy – this is what the whole movie has been building up towards). Devastated by his brother’s death, Chez cannot live a life without him, and with the irrationality of his uncontrollable emotions over possessing him in a moment of sheer madness, he starts to kill all the men in the house who had come to the wake, and then finally, he shoots himself in the head, holding the opening to his mouth.


Benicio is such a G!

 
…And Gallo is dead good in this film too.

You’d think the worst was over by then when watching this film, but then we’re brought back to the present day (the movie bounces back and forth like a yo-yo, but it’s easy to establish where we are in that moment; and boy o’ boy – this is what the whole movie has been building up towards). Devastated by his brother’s death, Chez cannot live a life without him, and with the irrationality of his uncontrollable emotions over possessing him in a moment of sheer madness, he starts to kill all the men in the house who had come to the wake, and then finally, he shoots himself in the head, holding the opening to his mouth.


The film goes out with a bang

This film really doesn’t get the praise it deserves. There’s a real depth to all the characters in this movie: the young, hopeful brother, Johnny, whom has a chance to escape the roots of his mobster background, having been blessed with a high intellect; Chez, the brother who has a short fuse and actually did rape someone (well, I would classify it as rape, given the way he negotiated with her. You have to see it to understand where I’m coming from). There is so much going on in what could be described as a simple story of revenge, but the bitterness of the ending only adds to the creative punch. There’s something special happening when a movie is flipped unexpectedly on it’s shell in the blink of an eye – to me that is movie making in it’s highest form: the ability to surprise your audience.

I love the raw intensity of this movie. I thought the styling of this 1930s based gangster film was genuine – I felt like I was there, amidst it all. And this film is definitely one that I want to revisit – there’s a philosophy behind this movie that I have grasped to some degree, but not enough for me to confidently put down into this review (perhaps at a later date?)


They didn’t call the film ‘The Funeral’ for nothing.

Anyway, this is a solid film, and one that I feel is definitely a buried gem, trapped in a sea of bullshit films. I can’t recommend this enough – watch it, ya fools!!

I give The Funeral:

9/10

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