- Rated Simmering
This is a film with a heart as well as a stomach.
The relationships between the characters are as real and complex as
anything I remember in recent cinema. These people are lovingly drawn
by someone who knows them well. The restaurant and food are shot with
care, and look beautiful, bathed in a warm, golden light. Stanley Tucci
(Richard Cross from Murder One) and Tony Mahmoud, who play the two
brothers, actually worked in Italian restaurants for a year in
preparation for their roles. This care and attention to detail shows in
the film: it gives the film a depth and a texture which distracts your
attention from the fact that the plot is pretty minimal. But plot is
not really the point here.
Stanley Tucci not only acts, but co-wrote the film with Joseph
Tropicano, and co-produced and co-directed it with Campbell Scott. They
all obviously have a huge affection for the Italian family and way of
life. And they have great respect for Italian restaurateurs. This film
celebrates the professionalism of the restaurateur in a way that is
reminiscent of the great Howard Hawks. Big Night is a film about the
classic Italian attitude to food, sex, love, and hence life. And so I
see the fim as an essay on how to live.
The final scene is as moving as anything I remember in cinema. The
wordless communication between the two brothers - and their kitchenhand
- reminds us that this is what cinema does best: it shows, rather than
So see this film - and be sure to have a great Italian meal afterwards.