A Bronx Tale Reviews
Using the coming of age format, A Bronx Tale is a helping of gangster movie with a few scoops of Romeo and Juliet-esque romance thrown in to tell the story of Calogero, a young Italian kid whose loyalties are torn between his hard working, stern, but caring father Lorenzo the bus driver, and Sonny, the flashy criminal figure who operates right down the street as he grows up during the racially divided and tense Bronx of the 1960s.
While the film does contain strong shades fo Scorsese (really, how could it not?) the film avoids being a clone and is instead a rich and wonderfully observed story about differing views and philosophical beliefs, and how they work (both separately and together) to shape how someone grows up, perceives the world, and lives their life. One of the particular dimensions that is really appropriate that gets dealt with is race relations, and it is here where there are some really nice and quite moving scenes, which hit harder when taken into the broader context of Calogero's life.
There's some typical gangster stuff, but De Niro treats the material with just the right touch- not shying away from it, but not going overboard. I really liked these scenes, but I think I enjoyed the other stuff involving his father and the race relations a bit more. My only real complaint is that I think the latter two could have each been dealt with just a bit more. They get decent coverage, but still, the film clearly has a favorite, even if the contest is a close one.
As far as performances go, De Niro is really good as Lorenzo, He brings a great sense of authenticity and wisdom, and it's neat seeing a gnagster movie where De Niro isn't a hood. Chazz Palminteri, since the material is his, was probably the only really appropriate choice for Sonny, and he too is excellent. Francis Capra is fine as the younger Caolgero, but Lilo Brancato, Jr. is really terrific, a revelation perhaps, as the older "C". For her part, Taral Hicks is pretty good as well as Jane, "C"'s potential (forbidden) love interest.
The Scorsese influence is undenianble, what with the subject mattter, and especially the music choices (as well as a couple of homage scenes), but ultimately De Niro makes the film his own, and proves that, despite putting a significant amount of focus into his performances over the years, he paid quite a lot of attenton to what the crew were doing as well. It's a shame he doesn't direct more often.
All in all, a fantastic film with great messages that, while not always totally subtle, never gets too preachy or overbearing. I definitely give this one a high recommendation.
De Niro is a Bronx bus driver with a little son, Calergeo. As growing up in the Bronx, De Niro trys his best to set him on the straight and narrow. But when he and his son's paths crosses with the local mobster, Calergeo begins to see another side to life and learns a different set of life lessons from the mobster who treats him like a brother, despite his father's disapproval. As Calergeo grows older and finally begins to make decisions for himself, he must then realise and choose where his loyalty must lie and decide how he wants his life to be, measuring the the strict, traditional life style of his fathers to the eye-opening, more relaxed ideas of the world from the mobster, who believes oppurtunity is the key to get ahead.
A story about growing up and being one's own person - very rare and rarely done this well.
Taking place in 'The Bronx' of the 1960s, Palminteri's screenplay achieves the commendable feat of detailing a glamorous, sometimes humorous look at familiar gangster territory, without straining from the intimate coming of age story at its heart.
Among the many themes examined include the importance of friendship, loyalty towards family, and moral lessons of never wasting your talent and respecting others for who they are. Familiar stuff, but examined with a different kind of richness here.
First seen aged 9 (Francis Capra), the Yankee supporting 'C' takes us through a daily stroll of life in his neighbourhood and his early seduction by the lifestyle of his idol Sonny. To C, Sonny is a paragon of gangster glamour, with his fearful or loving (we're never sure) associates, sky blue Cadillac and the cool use of just three figures to make a point.
With Calogero appearing in virtually every scene, the depth he gives to his story is one to rival Henry Hill's in Goodfellas, though the two tales could hardly be any different. Calogero's focus is not on gaining power and joining the ranks of Mafiosos, but of growing up to learn some basic life lessons.
His moral growth is assisted by two contrasting father figures: his honest-working father, who is proud of driving a bus all day so his family is able to eat steak once a week, and the ready-made wealth of Sonny.
Initially, Calogero acts merely as a bystander, watching on outside his house whenever Sonny is around, imitating his every action as a way of gaining his attention. Nothing happens, Calogero tells us, until one day.
Sonny takes the kid under his wing, offering him a job throwing dice in crap games, for which he wins Sonny's crowd big money, and earns a share of it himself. Sonny understands the boy, respects him like an adult and talks to him without condescending.
The excellent screenplay by Chazz Palminteri provides the easiest possible platform for De Niro, who doesn't need to direct with the innovative intensity of his mentor Martin Scorsese, for the events detailed are simple enough to come vividly to life.
He only a similar rock n roll soundtrack, with the songs chosen shrewdly to comment on the action. His performance as Lorenzo is also a mature one, only once recalling his wise-guy roles of past, when he postures to his son over the concept of money.
Palminteri as Sonny manages to humanise an erratic, charismatic character that, in different hands, would not have worked. His story is clearly a labour of love, nostalgic without touching sentimentality, with infectious dialogue, fine set pieces, moral lessons and characters being served realistically by the story.
Passionate, warm, classical storytelling. What C calls "just another Bronx Tale" is a very special experience.
Based on some true events in Chazz Palminteri's life growing up, A Bronx Tale saw freshly plucked actors and actresses take the main parts next to De Niro and Palminteri, in order to keep the film authentic.
A Bronx Tale is a film of many layers, from the star crossed lovers, who's friends and families are against each other in a race war, to the impressionable young boy, who is raised with two father figures, one an honest hard working man, the other a mafia boss who provides glamour and money, but also, violence and mistrust.
This film contains some of my favourite film quotes, along with a perfectly chosen soundrack, which emphasizes scenes all the way through the movie to add to the already powerful piece.
Chazz Palminteri, really makes this character his own and for me, sets a benchmark to which other Gangster bosses should be measured against throughout this movie genre.
The plot is awesome, and so is everything else!
A Bronx Tale is a kind of treasure. It is surely one of the best gangster films i've ever seen. This film incoporates both the "coming of age" genre and also the crime which makes this quite a unique movie. I have to say that this is most likely De Niro's greatest acheivement in his career. He gives a masterful performance as Lorenzo who is a caring father, a hardworking man and also a man of morals. Chazz Palminteri gives the best performance of his career, playing a gangster who treats Calogero like his own son. Throughout the whole film you see what these two guys do to take care of Calogero. Both of them care for Calogero equally but there is a difference between the two. One has money and all the riches and the other, is a working man. Naturally as a human, you tend to listen to the one who has money. Like Lorenzo said in the film " You don't understand: it's not what you say, it's what he sees, the clothes, the cars, the money, it's everything". As Calogero grows older, he starts to understand and at the end, you can see that he truly understand what his father and what Sonny had been telling him all along. " The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever". Although this is said by his father many times throughout the movie, there is a feeling of emotional satisfaction at the end of the film. To conclude, this film is great. It is well acted, well directed, well written and it has all the components of a perfect film.