The Funeral Reviews

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blkbomb
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2011
Ray: If I do something wrong, it's because God didn't give me the grace to do what's right. If this world stinks, it's his fault. I'm only working with what I've been given. 

"One family, one murder, too many lies."

What makes The Funeral a better than average gangster film is solid performances from underrated actors like Chris Penn and Vincent Gallo, and strong performances from its bigger names, Christopher Walken and Benicio Del Toro. The Funeral winds up being a really well made and acted film, even if it didn't become a great movie. The story isn't anything we haven't seen before, but the superb acting makes it feel like you are watching this storyline for the first time.

What The Funeral does do well is make its case for more of a family drama then a true gangster film. Although it's still a gangster film, as it gets going it relies more and more on the family drama and less and less on he actual ins and outs of the business. It's actually a pretty slow moving drama for most of the runtime and then within the last 10 minutes, the plot goes crazy and leaves the viewer with a weird feeling. I can't say I was at all surprised by the ending, but watching happen that quickly was a surprise. The ending turns out to be cool because director Abel Ferrera didn't feel the need to add melodrama or draw it out, but it also feels rushed for this same reason.

Either way I thoroughly enjoyed The Funeral despite its structural problems. There wasn't a bad performance from the cast and that ends up being enough to win me over on this one. 
garyX
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2008
The youngest brother of a trio of gangsters is shot dead and as they gather to mourn his death they relive his final days as they try to find the killer. In common with a lot of Ferrara's films, The Funeral is a very bleak affair, full of unsympathetic characters which makes it a little hard going to watch. Rather like TV series The Sopranos (in fact a couple of the regular cast appear in supporting roles here) it is more a domestic drama set in the world of organized crime rather than a gangster film. The cast is to die for, with Christopher Walken, Benicio Del Toro, Isabella Rosselini, Chris Penn and Vincent Gallo and they all put in solid performances; unfortunately it is very difficult to relate to any of the characters and the unrelenting nihilism combined with the fact that the film ends rather abruptly makes it difficult to feel any emotional involvement. It's still a solidly made and acted film but really only essential viewing for completist fans of the genre and actors involved.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2009
They're gangsters who don't believe in God or religion, but they think you'll go to hell for nihilism. They're interesting when they talk about it. Walken and Penn are great, as are Sciora and Rosselini as they're wives and better angels. Gretchen Moll's presence is extraneous, She's a beautiful WASP fiance who's in none of the flashbacks when Gallo's character is alive. She's there to cry a couple of times, and look around in alienated wonder at the family's traditions, like like Kay Adams in The Godfather. Maybe she's there to balance out our impression of Gallo's sexual vices. We see his vices fight with his spiritual ideals, as he tries to find a new religion, in socialism. Gallo's performance is good but his role is underwritten and not in a way that gives him charm and mystery, if he's supposed to be the young conscience of this clan. The movie could have been a half hour longer to make the world and the way its people relate more believable and less like bubbles of narrative popping before our eyes. The ending doesn't ascend high enough before it explodes on the ground. Based on the limitedness of the period sets, which do look good for what they are, it could have been a money thing.
puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ July 6, 2009
The problem with this movie? The same problem most movies have that involve Chritopher Walken: They need more Walken! His role was great. He reprises his role as the intellegent level headed criminal, who can quickly turn psycho. Vincent Gallo reprises his role as the usual greasy Itallian creepy. Chris Penn reprises his usual character as a disgusting asshole who screams. A LOT. No wonder this guy died of a heart attack at a young age, his blood pressure must have been through the roof.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2008
Contrary to popular opinion, I would say this is a stronger film than Ferrara's acclaimed Bad Lieutenant. I am a big fan of Bad Lieutenant, despite its flaws, but I think The Funeral is a more profound and resonant work. Perry Seibert from Allmovie described the tone of this film very well: it "feels like The Godfather directed by Ingmar Bergman". This is a brutal and disturbing movie, but the physical violence is given more power by the philosophical nature of the material surrounding it. The dialogue is ponderous and introspective, to the distaste of a lot of people, but it serves well to delve into the psyche of criminals and explore a lot of their motives. The aspect of this picture stands out the most for me is the acting. It is filled to the brim with brilliant performances. Sometimes I forget how incredibly talented Christopher Walken is, and it is roles like this that remind me how incomparable he really is. Chris Penn is scarily good as a cruel, tortured mobster, and Benicio Del Toro is as great as he always is. Vincent Gallo, who should have had more screen time, also does an excellent job and leaves a strong impression.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2007
Another Ferrara film that I find jawdropping that it isn't considered a classic. Moody and atmospheric with amazing performances and a great look at the true evil of organized crime. Fantastic.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2010
The best thing about this movie was the ending.(I did NOT see that coming!) Also Chris Penn singing.Other then that, It was alright
June 17, 2007
when i met isabella rossellini i asked her about this movie. she told me that the production ran out of money before the finish and they had to make the movie out of the footage that was already shot.
½ April 28, 2015
Does not take you where you think it"s going.Not the usual gangster fare but very satisfying.
July 7, 2014
A mafia story about the Templo brothers. What makes the difference is that the characters in this film ask themselves about life, death, God. There are dialogues with some deepness. The story begins with the funeral of the younger brother. Jane, Ray's wife who is opposite to the violent conduct of the brothers, predicts how is going to be the end of Chez of one of the brothers based in their father's own end.
July 23, 2014
The Funeral has great acting, scenery and plot. Abel Ferrara sets a perfect mood for this film. It keeps you entertained throughout the entire movie. It is especially amazing how he was able to make you sympathize with truly awful human beings. Well Done!!
½ November 12, 2013
A mais assumida tentativa de Ferrara no terreno da saga familiar perdida no crime, está cheia de óptimas prestações individuais e acrescenta mais qualquer coisa ao tema do arrependimento na carreira do realizador, mas perde-se muito numa neurose over-the-top que não abona em nada o filme.
½ October 29, 2011
Dark, mesmerizing, sinister and overlooked, The Funeral shows the true animalistic and violent nature of those in the underworld. And the existential questions are also a great bonus. All in all, a subtle and smart gangster movie. A fantastic mix.
June 13, 2011
Impressive cast, but I've never seen so much moralizing in a mob film. The focus on asking such big questions is what leaves the audience with a hollow story.
March 29, 2011
Dark and sinister, overlooked, gangster film.
February 2, 2011
Abel Ferrara does not make comedies or really anything even remotely warm. It is all cold and on edge. In The Funeral, he brings three brother's story to life in a gangster family picture. Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, and Vincent Gallo all bring their characters to life within the dark setting. One brother has been killed and the rest of the family is showing up for the funeral. This sets the stage for retracing the brother's beginning and telling us what happened to them in life. The early images we see of Walken's first shooting are heavy. This scene with his brothers and father hit me hard. He carried that event, as well as the souvenir from it, for the rest of his life. It is so unsettling and yet so unforgettable. Walken carries this weight with impeccable posture and creates much interest in his next move every time he is on screen. Penn shows some of his best abilities in his role too. From singing to soul searching, he is a bold presence in this film and usually keeps the heart rate of the story up. What Ferrara does with these characters (and with great cinematography) is present a portrait of sophisticated madness. It is as black as night and yet so elegant in many ways. The Funeral is a grim look at one family tree and how they cope with life and loss. It is paralyzing to watch this film in its entirety but I think I'd like to wade through the depressing waters and see it again. There is so much taking place that I don't think I could have possibly seized all it has to offer with just one viewing. (B)
½ September 28, 2010
Walken...phenomenal. Penn...might be the single best piece of acting I've ever seen
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