Francis Ford Coppola may never again craft a classic like The Godfather, but after years spent toiling on bland studio fare – as well as 2007's ambitious, muddled Youth Without Youth – the director regains his mojo with Tetro, a saga of familial strife and Oedipal conflict equally indebted to '60s euro cinema and the theatrical traditions of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. An independently financed gem, Coppola's first self-penned film since 1974's The Conversation is shot in lustrous black and white and marked by an old-school formal proficiency that's highlighted by an endlessly intriguing and expressive frame. It's also rife with echoes of the past, in terms of its cinematic forbearers – including The Godfather, and its focus on the shadow cast by titanic father figures on sons – as well as its narrative proper, which concerns the reunion in Buenos Aires of 18-year-old Bennie (newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) and his older brother Tetro (Vincent Gallo), the latter of whom up and left home years prior on a writing sabbatical and was never heard from again. As is slowly revealed, his departure was spurred by both men's father Carlo (Klaus Maria Brandauer), a world-renowned symphony conductor whom Tetro disdainfully refers to as "The Great Man" and whose stature, and accompanying egomaniacal behavior, caused an unspecified rift that hasn't yet healed.
categories Cinematical