out of Five
Running time: 120
Ferzan Ozpetek's latest comedy-drama is beautifully shot and superbly acted but the lead character is frustratingly passive and it's difficult to get emotionally involved with the story.
What's it all about?
Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, Loose Cannons stars Riccardo Scamarcio as Tommaso, a business student who returns home to Lecce from his studies in Rome. Ahead of a big family dinner, Tommaso confides to his older brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi) that he intends to tell his family that he's gay, but he's stunned when Antonio promptly steals his thunder and makes his own coming out speech, which gets him banned from the house and gives their father (Ennio Fantastichini as
Vincenzo) a heart attack.
With Antonio banished, a still-closeted Tommaso finds himself installed as the head of the family and in charge of their pasta factory, a position he was trying to avoid in the first place. Over the next few weeks, Tommaso finds himself growing closer to sexy business associate Alba (Nicole Grimaudo), but then his boyfriend (Carmine
Recano) arrives from Rome with a group of glamorous gay friends in tow.
The film is beautifully shot, with rich, sun-drenched cinematography courtesy of Maurizio Calvesi and strong use of the various locations. The ensemble cast is superb (particularly Grimaudo as the enigmatic Alba) and the script makes some interesting points about how far Italian society both has and hasn't moved on, in terms of sexism and homophobia (e.g. Vincenzo isn't a homophobe per se, but still fears being ridiculed by his peers for having a gay son).
In addition, the script cleverly works in a series of flashbacks involving Tommaso's grandmother (Ilaria Occhini), which have an impressively staged pay-off in the final scenes.
The main problem with the film is that Tommaso is far too passive as a lead character, which makes it frustratingly difficult to engage with the story on an emotional level. Similarly, the film constantly flirts with elements of farce (the initial coming out scene, the arrival of the gay friends) but always pulls back just as things are getting interesting, which feels like a bit of a cop-out.
Loose Cannons is well made and superbly acted but it isn't quite funny enough to work as a comedy and the frustrating passivity of the lead character means that it never quite delivers the required emotional punch.