walkenchronicles

Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.

The Funeral (1996)

Genre: Prohibition Era Gangster Film / Crime Film

Walken in Short: This is essential Walken. He is spectacularly sinister and crazy intense.

Film in a Sentence: Ray Tempio (Walken) is the vicious head of a 1930’s New York crime family whose youngest brother just got killed in a drive-by, so now him and his remaining family grieve, argue, and flashback to how this all came to be.

Director: Abel Ferrara, written by Nicholas St. John – Both men have a history working with Walken: King of New York (1990) and The Addiction (1995). After this film Walken and Ferrara made one more film ‘New Rose Hotel’ (1998).

MPAA: This is rated ‘R’ and definitely earns it. There is an especially excruciating rape scene. Also sex, violence, profanity, and worst of all: COMMUNISM! (lol)

Similar Films: Miller’s Crossing, Once Upon a Time in America, The Godfather saga, Boardwalk Empire (TV), A Bronx Tale, Road to Perdition

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Similar Films That Also Star Walken: Basically any of Walken’s crime-boss films: King of New York (1990), At Close Range (1986), Day of Atonement (1992).

Actors Other Than Walken (w/ other Walken films in parenthesis): Chris Penn (At Close Range, True Romance), Anna Sciorra (The Addiction, New Rose Hotel), Isabella Rosellini, Vincent Gallo (Basquiat) , Benicio Del Toro (Basquiat, Excess Baggage), Victor Argo (McBain, King of New York, True Romance, New Rose Hotel), David Patrick Kelly (Last Man Standing, Gretchen Mol (New Rose Hotel).

Available to Own: VHS and DVD. No Blu-ray yet. But I eagerly await the day.

Walken Content: 80%. Walken has a prominent role with a steady supply of lines throughout the film.

Walken Quote: His wife asks him if he’s ashamed. He says,”I’m NOT ashamed. I didn’t make the world.”

Should You Watch This? Yes. This is a criminally under-rated film that is filled to the brim with recognizable stars and memorable movie-moments. This film is not for the squeamish nor for those needing endearing characters or happy endings. This is a dark film with some pretty grim scenes. But there is humor to be found here and there even if it is a maudlin, cynical humor.

What’s Next? Up next, Walken has a supporting role in the Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro romantic-crime/comedy ‘Excess Baggage’.

 

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