The Funeral (1996 film)
|Directed by||Abel Ferrara|
|Written by||Nicholas St. John|
|Produced by||Mary Kane|
|Edited by||Mayin Lo|
|Music by||Joe Delia|
|Distributed by||October Films|
|Box office||$1,412,799 (worldwide)|
The Funeral is a 1996 American crime-drama film directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Annabella Sciorra, Isabella Rossellini, Vincent Gallo, Benicio del Toro and Gretchen Mol.
The story concerns the funeral of one of three brothers in a family of gangsters that lived in New York City in 1930s. It details the past of the brothers and their families through a series of flashbacks.
Chris Penn won the Volpi Cup for Best Supporting Actor at the 1996 Venice Film Festival for his performance. The film received five Independent Spirit Awards nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
The film begins with the funeral of one of the three Tempio brothers, a set of violent criminals. Mourning the passage of their beloved brother Johnny are Chez and Ray. Ray is cold and calculating, while Chez is hot tempered. Flashbacks show us that Johnny was more sensitive. Exposure to communist meetings as a spy sway Johnny's opinions. The chief suspect in Johnny's murder is rival gangster Gaspare Spoglia.
Ray and Chez swear revenge. Ray's wife, Jeanette, opposes the campaign of retribution and the violence it will bring, while Chez' wife, Clara, struggles to deal with her husband's obsessive nature.
Ray has Gaspare abducted for interrogation and they go to see Johnny's body. He is satisfied by Gaspare's claim of innocence, in part because he says that gangsters are superstitious, believing that the wounds of the corpse will start bleeding in the presence of the killer. Therefore the killer will not willingly enter the dead victim's presence. Gaspare is comfortable to be in the presence of the victim, so is not the killer. Ray releases Gaspare but instructs his men to murder him later.
As it turns out, Johnny was not murdered by rival gangsters, but by a man who claimed Johnny had raped his girlfriend. Ray's men identify him by tracking the car he had driven to commit the crime. Pressed by Ray, the killer confesses that he had wanted revenge because Johnny had beaten him up in front of his girlfriend and friends. Ray kills him.
As he buries the dead murderer, Chez reflects on his brothers' lives before the tragedy. He then returns to Ray's house and shoots and kills Ray and his two bodyguards. Chez then shoots Johnny, lying dead in the casket, before putting the gun in his own mouth and committing suicide as the family women wail over Ray's dying body.
- Christopher Walken as Raimondo "Ray" Tempio
- Chris Penn as Cesarino "Chez" Tempio
- Annabella Sciorra as Jean
- Isabella Rossellini as Clara Tempio
- Vincent Gallo as Giovanni "Johnny" Tempio
- Benicio del Toro as Gaspare Spoglia
- Gretchen Mol as Helen
- John Ventimiglia as Sali
- Paul Hipp as Ghouly
- David Patrick Kelly as Michael Stein
- Frank John Hughes as Bacco
- Victor Argo as Julius
- Robert Miano as Enrico
- Andrew Fiscella as Murder Witness
- Paul Perri as Young Ray
Reception from critics was positive, as The Funeral holds a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 34 reviews. The site's critics consensus reads, "Abel Ferrara reunites with Christopher Walken to forge another haunting gangster saga, delivering a bruising exploration of vengeance."
Roger Ebert gave The Funeral three stars out of four, praising the acting especially. Janet Maslin of New York Times also gave a positive review, calling it "hotblooded" and "well-acted". In Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker described the film as "fine, thoughtful, and jolting". David Parkinson of Empire gave the film four stars out of five, praising the "complex characters" and "impressive cast".
- ^ "The Funeral - Financial Information". The Numbers.
- ^ The Funeral at Box Office Mojo
- ^ "The Funeral". FilmAffinity. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
- ^ "The Funeral". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
- ^ Ebert, Roger (November 8, 1996). "The Funeral". Chicago Sun-Times.
- ^ Maslin, Janet (November 1, 1996). "On Crime and Conscience Among Brothers". The New York Times.
- ^ Tucker, Ken (November 22, 2006). "Movie Review: 'The Funeral'". Entertainment Weekly.
- ^ Parkinson, David. "The Funeral Review". Empire.
- 1996 films
- 1996 crime drama films
- 1996 independent films
- American crime drama films
- American films about revenge
- Films about funerals
- Films directed by Abel Ferrara
- Films scored by Joe Delia
- Films set in the 1930s
- Films set in New York City
- Films about the American Mafia
- Murder–suicide in films
- Fratricide in fiction
- 1990s English-language films
- 1990s American films