Charley Partanna is a hit-man who works for the Prizzis, one of the richest crime syndicate families in the country. Unbeknownst to Charley,the Prizzis just hired Irene Walker, a free-lance killer, to eliminate someone who double-crossed them. When Irene and Charley fall in love their jobs become complicated. Their jobs become impossible when each is given a contract that neither can go through with.Written by
Doesn't do any one thing well but does everything well enough to produce a good, if unsatisfying film
Charlie Partanna is the number one hit man for the Pizzi family. At a Prizzi wedding he spots a beautiful woman and tries to get to know her, although she is called away. Later that night she calls him and they get together, have sex, hang around and gradually fall in love. He finds out later that she is also a professional killer and is an easy choice when he is given a kidnapping job to do that involves taking out some bodyguards. However Irene is forced to kill a woman that sees them in the act only to find that the woman was married to a police chief. With the police cutting all ties and coming down on the New York families, Charlie and Irene end up in a perilous situation.
For all its class and reputation, something doesn't quite satisfy about Prizzi's Honour because, although it is mostly enjoyable the variable style means that no one approach works really well even if they all work a bit. The plot sounds pretty good and it does move along well enough but it is regularly a bit too slow, without giving depth in return for the patience it asks for. At turns it is a comedy, emotionally deep, a mobster saga and a romance it cannot seem to decide which one it wants to be so it tries to blend all aspects in; an attempt that never really comes off but still works well enough for the film itself to be enjoyable. Personally I found it to still be rather unsatisfying because since it didn't go one way it felt like most of it was half-done. So instead of being a deep mobster epic it only had aspects of that; instead of being a satisfyingly tragic romance it tried but was unengaging and instead of having dark laughs it only hit "comic" here and there.
The cast help but they tend to be part of the mixed style rather than trying to get above it. Nicholson tends to overplay the simplicity of his character and thus prevents any real depth to come out although the final scenes are moving this tends to be despite him and not because of him. Turner is better because she has a better character to play with; ultimately she cannot do it alone but she tends to lift the film a little bit. The two of them have to move between styles as the film does and it is too much for them. The rest of the support tend to exist within one main style to the film and generally benefit from it for example Hickey, Loggia and Randolph all exist within a mob epic of sorts and have pitched their performances more or less to there. Huston is enjoyable and small turns from Tierney and Pounder are nice finds.
Overall this is an OK film but it could have been better by either focusing on one or two aspects and doing them better. It is a nice try at a nice mix but it doesn't totally come off despite doing enough and having enough class to still produce an enjoyable film if rather muted in most areas.
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