The dark side of the gangster mentality is placed front and center in this week’s free movie pick recommended to Chicago’s Comcast On Demand subscribers. In 1996’s The Funeral, a brothers’ death gives birth to a manhunt. After one of three brothers involved in a New York City crime family is killed the two remaining brothers quickly move to get revenge.
Unfortunately, with their now-deceased-brother’s knack for living recklessly and making enemies, the surviving brothers must exercise their imbedded need for violent justice despite a possible justifiable motivation on behalf of the killer, which in turn puts them at risk for retaliation. Additionally, when carrying out their task, memories of their dark family past begin to resurface, as it supports their current beliefs and actions. And coupled with the larger-than-life grief they feel over their brother’s murder, the necessary maddening violence of the world they’re submerged in, a world that seems to stamp out everything they love, may prove to be more than they can bear.
In The Funeral the real funeral seems to be for any sexiness associated with the mob world and its gangster mentality. Dark, poetic, tragic, and reminiscent of a good play, The Funeral reveals the necessary level of mental, emotional, and spiritual instability required to be a considered to be a real “tough guy.” Any Hollywood portrayal of the gangster who kills while eating a cannoli and is well-adjusted and at peace is laid to rest. The Funeral’s redemption-less gangster appears too broken to participate in therapy (a la Tony Soprano), and “not broken enough to believe in God.”
With a cast that includes Christopher Walken, (Kill the Irishman), Chris Penn, (Reservoir Dogs), Annabella Sciorra, (The Sopranos), and Benicio Del Toro, (The Usual Suspects), The Funeral is chalked with top notch performances. Additionally, while the film has its fair share of raw and disturbing scenes, its great script and directing, ensure that those elements serve to reveal character and support the overall message of the film. For a Shakespearian take on what it means to be a crime family check out The Funeral. You’ll be glad you did.
For more information on The Funeral click here.
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The “Throwbacks: Comcast On Demand ‘Free Movies!’ section pick of the week” series is a weekly edition. Be sure to subscribe to Tasha Gregory’s articles to receive weekly film recommendations.