18 May 2004 | sol-kay
Bridge Over Muddled Waters
+MAJOR SPOILERS+ At the start of the movie "Last Rites" Geno, Roberto Corbo, is gunned down in his hotel room by his wife Zena, Anne Twomey, as his lover Angela, Daphne Zuniga, runs for her life and locks herself in the bathroom.
Zena blasting the locked door with a shower of bullets feels that Angela is also dead and leaves. Later Father Michael, Tom Berenger, who's a priest at New Yorks Saint Patrick's Cathedral takes a confession from non-other then Angela about feeling guilty for the death of her lover Geno. Geno is Michael's good friend as well as his brother-in-law.
Arranging to meet Angela that night Michael is picked up by a cabbie Luis, Al Rodriquez, who was sent by Angela to take him to her loft. There Angela tells Michael that she had no idea that Geno was still married to Zena Michael's sister. Now she feels that she'll be killed by Zena's and Micheal's father's Don Carlo, Dean Clark, mobsters for fooling around with Geno. Michael at first feels that there's more to the story then what Angela is telling him. Why did she go to him, Zena's brother, of all people to confess about having an affair with his brother-in-law Geno without knowing who he is?
At first when watching the movie "last Rites" it looks like the story of a woman who was cheated on by her husband who then took things into her own hands. But as the movie moves along you begin to realize that the story is more, far more, then what you at first thought it was.
Michael is smitten by Angel's beauty as well as her vulnerability hides her in his residents at the cathedral with the help of fellow priest Father Freddy, Paul Dooley. As Michael's father Don Carlo, New York's Boss of Bosses in the Mafia, has his hoods out on the street looking for her.
It's obvious that Angela did a lot more damage to Zena and her father that what it seems on the surface in her having an affair with Zena's husband Geno. Some of the truth comes out later when Michael has a talk with his friend and undercover policemen Nuzo, Chick Vennera. But before Nuzo can do anything to make Michael see what he's involved in he and his partner are gunned down in an undercover drug bust that tragically backfired.
It turns out that Geno was talking to the Feds and gave them enough rope to hang Michael's father Don Carlo. Geno was also making a deal with the Mannonie family who were trying to unseat or whack Don Carlo and take over his crime empire. The Mannonie's gave Geno five million dollars with which he and Angela would take off with and never be heard from again. Also it was Angela who put Geno up to selling out Don Carlo who she later planned to have murdered when they were out of the country and then keep all the money for herself.
Crossing the border into Mexico Michael and Angela spend the night at a hacienda but when Michael wakes up the next morning Angela is gone. Going into town looking for Angela Michael sees Luis the cab driver who took him to Angela's loft in New York. Going to the house where he saw Luis coming out of Michael finds that Luis and Angela are married and that they played him for a sucker! The plan was to get Angela out of the country and away from the vengeful Don Carlo and his mob. Both Louis & Angela are now going to have Michael murdered. Then with Michael out of the way they'll together live off the money that the Mannonie family paid Geno to sell out Michael's father.
Very confusing movie due to the bad editing and atrocious acting on the part of the beautiful but irritating Daphne Zuniga. But if you overlook the bad editing and acting and follow the story it's not as bad as most people say it is. This doesn't mean that "Last Rites" is by any stretch of the imagination a good movie.
Tom Berenger really rises above the material that he's given in the movie with a very sensitive and troubling portrayal of Father Michael. A man born into the mob who wants to make penance for his father's sins. Also Tom Berenger shows a very commanding use of the Italian language in the scenes where he speaks it. But It's the movies bad editing and directing that does it in by muddling the story instead of crystallizing it.
Among the many plot-holes, and there are legions of them, in the movie is the scene in Mexico after Michael finds out about Angela cheating on him as well as setting him up for an assassins bullet. You see Michael, after praying in the local church, taking off what looks like, I may be wrong, a wedding ring from his finger and sadly dropping it on the ground. Even though you never saw Michael and Angela get married in the movie for him to have that wedding ring in the first place.