Archive for September 17th, 2009


September 17th, 2009


Rating: ★★★½☆

Movie: Tetro (2009)

Studio : American Zoetrope

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 127 min

Website : Tetro

Trailer :


It’s been a long and tortuous decline for Francis Ford Coppola since his heady days as the confirmed Titan of the 70’s movie-brat scene. Who else has reached so high (Godfather 1&2 and The Conversation) only to fall so low (Jack)? Redemption (of a kind) now arrives, however, in the form of his latest film, Tetro.

The story centers on 17 year old Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich) as he arrives in Buenos Aires in search of his estranged older brother Tetro (Vincent Gallo). Initially hostile and suspicious of Bennie, Tetro slowly welcomes his kid-brother into his world and introduces him round to his colorful coterie of artist and writer friends (which makes the carnival-like first act of the movie seem like a slightly cheesy cross between La Dolce Vita and the high-camp 1960 film version of Kerouac’s The Subterraneans). Starker family secrets soon emerge though to put the drama on a darker footing.

Through the poetry of Coppola’s renewed filmic passion, we learn of Tetro’s shattered past, his apparent failure as a writer and his subsequent breakdown. The bond between the brothers is what drives this story forward yet some of the most revelatory moments are when Coppola reaches back into their shared history to explore the deep family wounds that kept them apart for so many years. Some of the most inspired scenes of the film are those depicting their tyrannical musical genius of a father and the stunningly cruel games he played against his sons.

Another of the films intoxicating charms is how it celebrates the women that keep both brothers sane and (literally) alive – from opera-singing mothers to Buenos Aires bubble-bath beauties, the role that women play as the eternal muse again echoes Fellini. That is not to suggest that the female characters are merely window-dressing. As fine and refreshing a performance as the always electrifying Vincent Gallo delivers, the best moments in the film belong to the brilliant Maribel Verdú (as Miranda).

Tetro is no masterpiece – Bennie’s underwritten character and a slightly disappointing “twist” finale both hamper the Coppola comeback – and it’s overtly “arty” style will certainly not appeal to all cinematic tastes. Nevertheless, if you are looking for something out of the ordinary and which is laced with a desire to tell simple human truths in a stylish way, Tetro makes you an offer you can’t refuse.

-Paul Meade

Drama, In Theaters ,