If there's anything to appreciate about director Abel Ferrara,who's directed films like "King of New York" and "Bad Lieutenant," it's that he allows psychosis to take over his films early. You've barely gotten past the "But-R Flavor" layer of your popcorn when Christopher Walken shoots a few people or Harvey Keitel masturbates on a teenage girl's car. At least you know what you're getting into.
"The Funeral" would seem to indicate that Ferrara has been seeing a psychotherapist or something because things are way too calm for way too long. However, it's pretty obvious that whatever self-help tapes Ferrara sent away for haven't exactly cured him, because there's always a sense that, like a cocaine addict straining to resist another fix, Ferrara is going to flip out at some point and let loose.
This film features three characters that represent distinct facets of Ferrara's cinematic personality. There's the calm one, Ray Tempio (Christopher Walken), head of a crime family; the dead one, Johnny (Vincent Gallo), who was trying to get out of the business but was killed before he could; and the one who looks like he could flip out at any second, Chez (Chris Penn).
At this point, the rhetorical question any knowledgeable Abel Ferrara fan will ask himself is this: Given Ferrara's history, which facet is going to take control? Sure enough, it's only a matter of time before Chez starts biting the heads off chickens and running around screaming that Andy Kaufman is still alive. While this may be warped, it's still numbingly predictable.
To spread the word about this The Funeral review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.