A Bronx Tale
A Bronx Tale
(Robert De Niro, 1993)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Robert De Niro's debut as a film director is a strong, emotionally charged crime drama with a host of believable performances and a strong sense of place.
'A Bronx Tale', actor Robert De Niro's first film as a director, recalls some of the great films that made him so renowned in the first place. It owes a lot to his collaborations with director Martin Scorsese - particularly 'Mean Streets' - with its rooted street locations and themes of honour, family and respect.
The film is based on Chazz Palminteri's one-man play. Palminteri wrote the script and takes the lead role as a local gangster in the Bronx in the 1960s who takes a young boy (newcomer Lillo Brancato) under his wing. Trouble is that the boy's father, straight-shooting bus driver Lorenzo (De Niro) doesn't approve.
The conflicting father figures and assumed obligations make for a very personal narrative which De Niro's attention to detail as a director fleshes out with remarkable period touches to engaging effect.
It's refreshing to see De Niro playing the straight guy in the piece as well. Scenes where he muses that his teenage son earns more than him in a month of crime over his years of providing a steady wage in a dull job to support his family are heartfelt and true. Indeed, the whole film is.
The Blu-ray from Studio Canal looks and sounds great. It contains a brief making-of.
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