Review by Sean Bugg
Rating: (5 out of 5) [Critic’s Pick!]
Saturday, 10/22/2011, 7:15 PM
Feature presentation, $20 at Lisner Auditorium
Italian with English subtitles
LITERARY-MINDED TOMMASO desperately wants to come out to his boisterous Italian family, leaving behind their highly successful pasta business for his dream of being a writer and making a life in Rome with his boyfriend. Trouble is, his older brother and pasta-business heir apparent Antonio beats him to the punch by coming out during a big family dinner and promptly being disowned by his homophobic father, Vincenzo, much to the dismay of his grandmother, who harbors long-buried secrets of her own.
Loose Cannons is the kind of big, emotionally sprawling movie that you know is Italian in part because everyone constantly eats and drinks, yet looks simply fabulous. In fact, nearly every moment of import takes place over food — from multi-generational family dinners, to an outdoor cafe on a gorgeous Italian city square, to a simple lunch of watercress sandwiches where the crustless panini look exquisite.
With his father suffering a heart attack at Antonio’s announcement, Tommaso is left in the closet and in charge of the family business, helped by Alba, the stunningly beautiful daughter of a new investor who engages in odd behaviors like keying the cars of those who’ve earned her ire — and falling for Tommaso.
While there are certainly some heartstrings to be plucked over the course of Loose Cannons, it’s also often hysterically funny as Tommaso plays the reserved straight man to his exuberantly Italian family. That’s only heightened by a surprise visit from his boyfriend, Marco, and three fey gay friends from Rome who end up — naturally — having a very important dinner with the family. But those heartstring moments are never far away, as unrequited love from the past leads to a moment where all the cultural metaphors of appetite and eating take on a sudden and literally bittersweet meaning.
Director Ferzan Ozpeteck has crafted a deftly comic and deeply touching film about family ties, the endurance of love and the desire for redemption and acceptance. Beautifully shot and impeccably acted, Loose Cannons guarantees that Reel Affirmations 20 goes out with a bang.
Film and Closing Night Party: $40