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The Funeral
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Funeral More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Average at Best

5/10
Author: Baz (salvador_2003) from London
24 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Funeral is about gangsters Christopher Walken and Chris Penn burying their younger brother, on the evening of his wake (before his funeral) through flashbacks we see their brother and his involvement with crime and criminals. He is having an affair with Benicio Del Torro's wife and so Del Torro is placed in the frame for his murder, as the movie gradually ends, Chris Penn shoots his brothers and the people that work for him.

Apart from two good performances from Walken and Penn, this movie lacks character detail, plot and lacks contemporary quality of the 1930's. There is unconvincing atmosphere between the characters and it is just disappointing.

The highlight of the movie comes from Christopher Walken who whips out some good sayings and seeks his revenge.

I got this film on a three DVD box set with Road to Perdition and Miller's Crossing. I'd already seen Miller's Crossing. I don't think it can be classed in the way that Miller's Crossing can.

Its worth watching but I doubt anyone will watch it for a second time.

PEACE.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

More effective than Sominex

Author: Swangirl from United States
15 March 2003

As others have stated, this film had the potential to knock an audience off its feet. Consider the stable of talented actors on the cast list. That's what got me to rent it in the first place. With Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Benicio Del Torro and Isabella Rosellini at the helm, what could go wrong?

Plenty.

The youngest of a trio of mob brothers is dead, thus the title of the film. Walken and Penn play the older brothers Ray and Chez, who are seeking little brother Johnny's killer. But the process is slower than watching paint dry. The long-suffering wives (Sciorra and Rosellini) are pretty much a waste of space. They scream, cry and smoke a lot. Little tenderness exists between them and their spouses. Whilst looking for the killer, the brothers drink, carouse and swear a lot.

The movie explores how Johnny got killed in the first place, with an strange plot twist involving communism. Johnny is basically a womanizing jerk that his brothers don't seem to care about much until he's dead. I guess it's the a la famiglia thing.

Walken's about the only worthwhile part of this film, when you're not suppressing a yawn. He tries to breathe life into a fairly lifeless film.

Do yourself a favor. If you're longing for sleep and are out of Sominex, watch this film. It'll have you in dreamland in a matter of minutes.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Ferrara's Last Great Film?

7/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
4 February 2016

New York City, the 1930s. A powerful crime family is caught in a lethal crossfire between union organizers and brutal corporate bosses. Against this turbulent backdrop, the family's three street-hardened brothers and the women they love are about to be plunged into a deadly confrontation with their enemies, with each other, and with their own dark heritage of violence, madness and murder.

Although Abel Ferrara is still making films, this might be his last "big" one. All the titles he is known for, from "Ms. 45" to "The Addiction" seem to taper off after this title. Why? Certainly he did not start making bad movies, did he? (But, who knows? Even Francis Ford Coppola deteriorated.) What makes this better than the average Mafia movie is that it focuses less on the violence (though that happens), and much more on the psychology. We see these men as they see themselves, and we see that the women in their lives do not always see them in as glamorous of a light. This makes for an interesting comparison.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Gangsters Christopher Walken and Chris Penn react to the killing of their brother

6/10
Author: msroz from United States
30 March 2015

"The Funeral" is consistently interesting, depicting incidents and flashbacks that surround the shooting death of the 22-year old Vincent Gallo. His brothers, Christopher Walken and Chris Penn, are in the rackets, doing union shakedowns and protection, where they cross paths with Benicio Del Toro. Walken's wife is Annabella Sciorra and Penn's wife is Isabella Rossellini. Sciorra tries to stop Walken from taking revenge, while Rossellini has her hands full with Penn, who has spells of derangement.

The photography is quite dark and nothing special. While the scenes are individually interesting and produce some sparks, the story still doesn't connect all the dots theme-wise. It doesn't build to anything with all that much impact. The acting helps carry the movie. Del Toro is impressive in a smaller role as is Penn in a larger role. Walken is engaging, but is not always in character. One never knows just how his character is going to go. Rossellini projects her character well, Sciorra less so.

I felt that the film came off looking "rough" and not put together smoothly or that effectively. While interesting, scenes didn't always add up or add to the story, and their sequence didn't help any. I felt that the casting was off too. The three brothers didn't resemble in the least. Walken didn't seem like an Italian wise guy. The writing brought in some philosophy about free will, grace, afterlife and hell that was of interest but didn't seem to come out of the characters' mouths that realistically or convincingly. As with "New Rose Hotel" by Ferrara, I felt as if Walken was improvising. And that movie and Body Snatchers by Ferrara show a creative talent at work with novel ideas, but somehow not quite getting a really strong result out of it. Strong, though and commendable. Work that has merit among its imperfection.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I would go so far as saying that it is of the greatest underrated gangster films of all time, it truly is that good!

7/10
Author: The-Eternity-of-Time
5 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Funeral takes place in New York City, in the 1930s. A powerful crime family is caught in a lethal crossfire between union organizers and brutal corporate bosses. Against this turbulent backdrop, the family's three street-hardened brothers and the women they love are about to be plunged into a deadly confrontation with their enemies, with each other, and with their own dark heritage of violence, madness and murder. The Funeral is an extraordinary is one of the greatest underrated movies of all time. It is extremely powerful and intelligent with some unforgettable performances from Chris Penn in particular. Abel Ferrara is a gifted film maker who makes unforgettable and captivating films that will last the test of time. I would go so far as saying that it is of the greatest underrated gangster films of all time, it truly is that good!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Only goes to show that you don't need bucks to make great movies. Superb

8/10
Author: patrick powell from United Kingdom
20 May 2010

Ain't nothing divides the good folk who write a review for IMDb like a good film. And the better the film, the more extreme their views are. The Funeral is described by some who, like me, enjoy adding their two ha'porth worth to the User Review pages as 'a waste of time', 'pointless' and 'abysmal'. Don't believe a word of it. Abel Ferrara might not have the technical skills of Spielberg or his fellow New York director Scorsese, but what he does almost peerlessly is to get brilliant performances from his players who obviously relish the screenplays he and his scriptwriter conjure up for them. There is something almost magical about the films this guy comes up with, and The Funeral is a sparkling example. Set in Depression-era America, it tells a simple tale of death and revenge. But there is so much more to it than that. It is not an 'action film', which some believe Mafia drama should be, but a superb character study in the lives of three brothers. One of them is bright, though ruthless, one insane and ruthless, and the third subscribes to Communist ideas but is equally ruthless. None is nice. Their wives suffer badly. But the 'story' is only the half of it. What is outstanding is how Ferrara builds a world out of nothing. This is low-budget stuff - the sound quality is at times a little dicky - but what that tells you is that you don't need big bucks to make great films. In fact, considering some of the dreck which is churned out on multi-million dollar budgets, there might even be a rule that the bigger the budget, the more likely the film will be a clunker. The Funeral is in the same stable of The Conversation: it misses popular acclaim by a country mile but that is because your average flick viewer wouldn't know class from an empty tub of popcorn. The Funeral is the real deal if you like films. But don't take my word for how good it is, watch it and see for yourself.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Well-Acted Low-Budget Art-House Gangster Picture

5/10
Author: ShootingShark from Dundee, Scotland
22 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In depression-era New York, when one of three gangster brothers is killed, his family gather at the wake to ponder their lives together and their revenge, with tragic consequences.

Despite its low budget, this manages to be quite an impressive period piece of mafia melodrama, but primarily it is designed as a showcase for the first-rate cast to explore their characters. All acquit themselves well, but all are familiar types from the genre - Walken and Penn as the bereaved brothers and Sciorra (who also co-produced) and Rossellini (who looks just as amazing without makeup) as the long-suffering Mob wives. The best roles are Del Toro's as a sharp-suited cognac-drinking player modelling himself on movie tough-guys and Kelly's scene as a zealous communist agitator. It's an impressive piece (though the photography is ludicrously dark), but the script is too thin and only Ferrara's trademark forays into religious philosophy and an extremely grim finale spark a little energy into the picture. Well made and well acted, but a movie must have a great script to begin with to be a great movie.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Angst by the bucketfull spoilers

Author: toonnnnn from Hartlepool England
15 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well I caight up with this film on late night TV .Its a strange movie,set in the 1930s all the gangsters were smart clothes and have great looking women with them,but this film makes them a miserable bunch no one enjoys them selves.The overiding message of the film is the guilt people feel at a funeral of a ypunger family member.This younger family member a gangster believes in socialism ,this hard to swallow as gangsters are hardly socialists.Well acted with Walken and Penn playing the sort of people you would not ever want to meet,the ending is bizarre and shocking.I only hope the undertaker gave the family a special rate for providing him with so much work.5/10

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Holy Cow, Chris Penn Can SING!

Author: Ankhoryt from Washington, DC
24 September 2002

I tuned in when the movie was more than half over. In a scene in a speakeasy, Chris Penn was singing -- singing so well that I sat through the rest of the movie without a clue as to what was going on, just to find out from the credits if that was his own voice or not (and in hopes he'd sing some more).

Yep, that was his own voice, all right. DANG, he's good. I'd buy a whole CD of him doing 30's hits or Squirrel-Nut-Zippers-type material without hesitation. He was THAT GOOD. I'd buy a concert ticket, and I hate going to concerts. I'd buy tickets for my friends. I don't know beans about him as an actor, nor anything else about this movie, but I am glad I had the chance to hear him sing and hope some director has the sense to exploit this gift of his at length soon.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Walken saves it!

Author: BasF from Amsterdam
25 February 2002

This film is no masterpiece at all! In fact it's a little boring for most of the time. It's something like a low-budget Godfather. But the last 15 minutes are O.K. And Christopher Walken saves the whole movie in one of the last scenes, when he has to decide whether or not kill his brother's murderer.

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