"This film is not THE GODFATHER; it is not MYSTIC RIVER; it is not GOODFELLAS; it is not THE DEPARTED. This is THE FUNERAL!!! I simply will not lump this film into a category that defines this as another "gangster movie."
Director Abel Ferrara (BAD LIEUTENANTS) has crafted a tense and unflinching psychological look at three Italian brothers in the politically/crime charged 1930's who have been scarred by the violence into which they have been plummeted from their earliest childhood. The film carefully examines the deep contradictions of religion, family,morality and fidelity that combat the souls of those who "inherit" the criminal world as their family legacy. Unlike so many "Italian gangster movies", THE FUNERAL has incredible heart and soul. These characters are "trapped" in a world that causes such vaccilation of emotion that no matter how they might try to change they simply cannot.
Yes..this film is full of bloody violence, sex and explosive rage, but Abel Ferrara asks us to understand WHY these brothers and their companions act the way they do.Ferrara wants us to examine these men and their women who fall for and fear them. We are also forced to examine the continued place that Roman Catholicism and it's teachings had as a foundation for life and thought of these people.
As a rule, I simply do not care for mob/violent films. I must say,though, that THE FUNERAL is completely unique. The script is intelligent in that instead of senseless and gratuitous violence, we are asked to think about the causes, motivations and devastating consequences of violence when it is passed down from generation to generation.
One special note about the acting: CHRIS PENN is downright frightening as middle brother Chez.
The ending was a positive shocker!!!"
Amazing, but only a few will understand it.
Alfonso Garcia | Chicago | 06/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well its not your typical mob film, it does not contain alot of tough guy bravado, nor does it have that element of comedy most mob films have, No its a realistic modern morality tale from the brilliant and underrated Director Abel Ferra. Here just like Bad lieutenant and King of New York he displays a hard crime story with religious morality thrown in for good measure,its really sad that this brilliant trilogy of films will never get the credit there due since lets face these excellent movies ( The Funeral my favorite) are the type of films mainstream society just cannot accept, why? because no one cares about originality anymore they want all flash and no substance overrated actors and actresses who could not act to save there lives, and pathetic remakes. Is that a fair assesment of all people in todays modern day society? perhaps but there is still a strong minority who demand something more from films, the basics of originality, a good plot, and actors and actresses who give a damm. Plain and simple Abel Ferrera and his films are a blessing in todays world since there is to much crap that is in todays theaters, and while there are his critics about him and his complicated films lets just say they should look closer at Abel Ferreras works of art and this brilliant crime trilogy of King of New York, Bad Liutenant, and The Funeral, should be viewed by all and if you don't understand or somehow are bored LOOK CLOSER."
The conscience of gangsters
Allan MacInnis | Vancouver | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Abel Ferrara, like his star here, Christopher Walken, is not much noted for subtley. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed BAD LIEUTENANT, but it's not a particularly morally complex film, and tends to go just a wee bit over the top to make its points (which, really, is one of the reasons it's as impressive as it is -- sometimes bold strokes work, if you'll pardon an obvious pun). What's most interesting about THE FUNERAL is that it takes characters -- gangsters -- who all too often are treated in a cartoonish, romanticized fashion, and lends them considerable moral complexity. All the gangsters in this film are forced to continually confront their consciences in regard to what they've become; the characters played by Walken and Penn in particular are both extremely reflective, troubled men, and capable, in different ways, of being quite articulate about the moral ground they find themselves on. There IS something uneven and choppy about the film -- it almost feels like Ferrara was forced to cut it down from a considerably longer length to satisfy the studio, and there are things I'd've liked to see better developed -- but there is simply TOO much to recommend this film to take a star away for that. The performances are top-notch, and there's genuine thought put into a genre too often coloured with crayons. There may well be good things to say about GOODFELLAS and all that, but for their ills, this film is the remedy. Highly recommended."
Very good film
Daniel R. Donofrio | 06/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is a very good movie. I really enjoyed the way the story was told. The casting was also very well done. Walken, Penn, Del Toro all played great roles.
If you enjoy movies like Miller's Crossing, or other low key organized crime films, you will enjoy the funeral."
Slow meditation, viral violence
Daniel R. Donofrio | 08/31/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Saw this film this weekend on cable and was wonderfully surprised by the somber atmosphere, striking performances, and the director's intent to not provide the kind of action and conclusions demanded by the ganster movie genre. This film is not Scorese's milleau; rather, it offers a familial portrayal about the viral effects of violence within a small family--and where that compulsion can lead. The cast is excellent, performances are rich, and the mise-en-scene is perfectly dark for the subject matter. Be patient, and be rewarded."