9 November 2016 | Wuchakk
Family secrets are revealed in this operatic drama, set in Buenos Aires
Released in 2009 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, "Tetro" is drama about two American brothers in Buenos Aires, Argintina. The younger one, Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich), idolizes the older, Tetro (Vincent Gallo), and hasn't seen him in a dozen years because he mysteriously cut all ties with the family and moved to Argentina, where he lives with his girlfriend, Miranda (Maribel Verdú). Bennie discovers his brother's near-finished play and is obsessed with completing it without his permission, perhaps because he senses it holds the answers he seeks. Klaus Maria Brandauer plays the arrogant conductor father while cutie Sofía Gala is on hand as a young Argentinan girl that fancies Bennie. The movie is primarily in B&W, but with color flashbacks.
"Tetro" is an artful and somewhat hypnotic adult-oriented drama by the master filmmaker, the very opposite of conventional Hollywood blockbusters. Ehrenreich is reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio when he was young while Gallo is broodingly charismatic as the eponymous protagonist. Coppola has always had a good eye for female cast and "Tetro" delivers the goods with Verdú and Gala, although I wish the latter had more screen time. There's a revelation at the end that I failed to anticipate, but should have because everything in the story points to it.
Francis said at the Cannes film festival that "nothing in (the movie) happened, but it's all true." In other words, the film's autobiographical in some ways. The challenge is to perceive the parallels. Two are obvious seeing as how Coppola's father was a famous conductor. The other is when South America's most honored critic asks Tetro if her opinion matters to him anymore and he honestly says it doesn't; sticking her nose in the air, she silently walks away. Like Tetro, Coppola no longer cares what critics think of his works. It's akin to Kurtz' disposition toward the pathetic brass in "Apocalypse Now." The critic's name in the film is fittingly "Alone," played by Carmen Maura. Then there's the fact that Francis has a brother he's been known to have a love/hate relationship with, not to mention how his nephew, Nicolas Cage, is a little reminiscent of the titular character. But none of this speculation really matters; all that matter is that "Tetro" is a creative, operatic, entertaining drama. But stay away if you need constant 'exciting' things going on, like explosions, absurd action scenes and the corresponding CGI (not that there's anything wrong with that, lol).
The film runs 127 minutes and was shot in Buenos Aires & the Andes, Argentina with studio work done in Spain.