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The Funeral
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Synopsis for
The Funeral (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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Director Abel Ferrara puts his finger on the pulse of the world of sin. The Funeral is a dark portrait of a family "not broken enough to believe in God". The film opens in a movietheatre where Johnny Tempio (Vincent Gallo) is watching Humphrey Bogart talking about death. After the titles we find ourselves at the home of the Tempio family where a coffin is brought into the house. When the coffin is opened we see Johnny; he's dead. His oldest brother Ray (Christopher Walken) seems to be the head of the family. He's a gangster. Behind his ice cold gaze lives the hunger for revenge and strategic 'gangster-justice'. When Johnny's other brother Chez (Chris Penn) enters the house the mood seems to change from silence into rage and fear, for Chez is a man on the edge of insanity. Madness, rooted in pain and fed by anger. The movie progresses into a parallel structure where we follow the three brothers through flashbacks up against the present where the two remaining brothers are dealing with their loss. The movie is a depiction of gangster life, without the traditional glamour and romanticism. The more mainstream enjoyment and stylistic elements of the famous gangster films are dismissed and replaced by pain, suffering and hopelessness. The Funeral is a bleak but powerful film about the fate of sin. A film about a place in the world where redemption is far gone. As opposed to most of Ferrara's films The Funeral finds no salvation for the lead character(s). Chez, the insane man turns out to be the man that does the only sane thing. End this life of evil and immorality by the only means possible in his way of thinking.


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