.

The Funeral

Chris Penn, Christopher Walken, Anabella Sciorra, Isabella Rossellini

Directed by Abel Ferrara
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
November 1, 1996

Abel Ferrara continues to make dark, brutal, punishing movies that piss people off. Obviously, the director of Bad Lieutenant and King of New York is doing something right. The Funeral isn't up to those twin Ferrara peaks, but this Depression-era crime drama, with a script by Nicholas St. John, has some of the same jangling tension. When racketeer Johnny Tempio (Vincent Gallo) is shot down after seeing Humphrey Bogart in The Petrified Forest at a movie house, his family joins his fiancee, Helen (Gretchen Mol), to mourn at the coffin. Johnny's two brothers, Ray (Christopher Walken) and Chez (Chris Penn), search for the killer. A rival hood, Gaspare (a superb Benicio Del Toro), is the obvious suspect in a film that works hard to dodge the obvious.

Ferrara is less interested in who done it than why they done it. Flashbacks reveal the three Tempio brothers, raised in savagery by a sadistic father, in emotional conflict. Johnny wanted out of the crime game to pursue leftist politics. Ray, married to the canny Jeanette (Annabella Sciotra), hides his anger. Chez, married to the fearful Clara (Isabella Rossellini), can't control his. In a film of strong performances, Penn's is the standout. He finds the madness in Chez that is the key to Ferrara's tale of blood ties that choke off compassion and hope.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com