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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Tetro [DVD]
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on 28 September 2017
Tetro is all about looking like film noir but here the balck & white has a fakeness to it as does the noirish lighting; it all lokks so cinematice yet it is not a film. There is fact nothing-there - both Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich are broing and beyond dull lacking in dasein; nothing-happens, no one is there; this apes at mimicing cinema without being filmis; I admire the director's other films but this is not a film per se as such as it is 'cinema' made for film critics and films buffs who love 'cinema' but hate 'film'.

This is an over-rated 'movie' that doe not move naywhere yet 'they' loved it becuase it looks like cinema and appears very noirish but is fake-film-noire; it is trying to be like what they used to make in the old-days but does not come off; there is something profoundly disinegnouso and phoney about this 'film'. But I can easily see why 'they' like it.

Tetro is not a film but 'cinema' tailor-made for film-buffs and film-critics. Nothing happens. Gallo is bored throughout.
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on 17 May 2011
As finely sculpted a piece of cinema as I have seen in some time. If you're a fan of cinema and consider cinema as an art form, first and foremost, you will admire and enjoy Coppola's technical and story telling accomplishments in Tetro. This is a master film maker, perhaps in his twilight, reminding us all how good he is at his craft - including how much he can get from his actors.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 June 2012
I can see a lot of connection between Copolla's 1983 Rumble Fish and this 2009 Tetro. Firstly there's that same inky black monochrome that's as dark as night and with the occasional splash of colour. Then, there's the brotherly relationship, here between Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich.

It's a while since I last watched Rumble Fish but the brothers there were Mickey Rourke (a rare good film for him at that time) and Matt Dillon. It's about street gangs and pool halls and how an older brother can be very impressionistic on a younger sibling. I'll say no more, except it's a blinder of a film and better than this.

I would have to say that the monochrome cinematography here, though, that everybody drools over is just too dark and contrasty, for this subject and film. I'm a photographer, so hopefully know and whilst Rumble Fish looked superb, that was full of geometric angles and angular paradoxes. Here, the screen is often plunged into almost darkness much of the time.

There is a balletic beauty to much of it though and we veer away from Rumble Fish and on to his works of epic greatness. The Godfathers and Apocalypse Now all share with this, an operatic build up of artistic and emotional tension that is mesmerising. Tetro has this toward the end at the Festival and we start anticipating something big and great. Do we get it? You'll have to see it yourself...

Others have touched on the actual storyline and I'm going to leave that to them. That said, the cast are all good but oddly, Vincent Gallo, as Tetro seems to short-change us. Not performance wise but in that we just don't seem to get to know him, which is part of the whole story, of course. Clamming up into a shell is nature's way of protecting us, emotionally, which is what Tetro did - and still does.

One major plus to this, very bog-standard DVD, was the sound quality - I 'felt' the sound as much as heard it. It prickled my eardrums with a tactile clarity, certainly Hi-fi standard, plus. OK, it was through separate amp and speakers but is as all my TV watching is.

Is Tetro a film for you? That's a difficult one. Arthouse cinema lovers probably will and those who like a drama that is quite complex also but those who want action and something akin to Apocalypse Now, no. It is long, visually rich and dark (like plain chocolate) and accordingly, not for everybody but for those who do, it holds many strengths.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 May 2010
By anyone's estimation, it's a long time since Francis Ford Coppola was a force to be reckoned with in the film world. Regardless of the quality of later works, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather and The Godfather Pt. II are, at the very least, likely to remain important landmarks in American filmmaking. Coppola's first original screenplay since The Conversation, Tetro however proves to be a very personal commentary by the director on family, on influences and on the impulses that drive the artist to create, and represents a welcome return to form.

Filmed in Argentina, in beautifully luminous digital black-and-white 'scope photography, the story deals with seventeen year-old Bennie Tetrocini (Alden Ehrenreich), who has run away from a troubled family background, working on a cruise ship that has taken him to Buenos Aires where he hopes to meet and restart a relationship with his estranged elder brother Angelo (Vincent Gallo). Bennie has always looked up to his brother, but finding him in the bohemian La Boca district of the city, known now only as Tetro, he's disappointed not only that his brother doesn't want to have anything to do with Bennie or their family, but he has also given up his ambitions to be a writer. For Bennie, the stay in Buenos Aires proves nonetheless to be an eye-opening experience that sets him off on an exciting personal growth experience, opening up a number of potential new creative paths for the young man to follow, one of which he hopes will create a new bond with his brother.

The film itself serves similarly as a commentary on the primary influences that would drive Coppola himself to be a film director - family, music, theatre, the films of Powell & Pressberger - while also opening up potential new directions, even at this stage in his career. Even those aforementioned flawed later films of Coppola - Rumble Fish, One From The Heart - can be reevaluated here in the light of those influences and seen for the more personal elements and ambitions that the director was aiming for in their sense of heightened reality bordering on fantasy, but that arguably they perhaps never quite reached. Tetro could be seen as having the same failings, the film over-ambitiously taking its storyline and its characters to extreme lengths that border on melodrama and fantasy, but within this lies the heart of Francis Ford Coppola. Tetro demonstrates all the qualities that are uniquely Coppola, and it's an impressive reminder that he remains one of the most important and innovative filmmakers in America today.
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on 12 December 2011
I was given Tetro on Blu-ray as a Christmas present but I had delayed watching it as with Francis Ford Coppola's previous release Youth Without Youth I was actually expecting to be very much disappointed by it, luckily this was not to be the case and its clearly his best entirely original screenplay since The Conversation and his most personal film since Apocalypse Now, I engaged with it so much that I wished it had another 30 minutes running time.

The premise for Tetro is actually very slight Bennie a waiter on a cruise liner, decides to look up his long lost older brother Angelo whilst on shore leave in Buenos Aires. He discovers him living with his common law wife Miranda (Maribel Verdu) only now he calls himself 'Tetro' and claims he no longer wants anything to do with his real family. Angelo and Bennie are the sons of a celebrated concert conductor although they had different mothers; Angelo's was an opera singer and died in a car crash whilst he was at the wheel and that, along with another incident between him and his father over a mutual lover, has left him mentally and emotionally scarred.

What struck me immediately about Tetro is how good it looks, I had my doubts as I knew it was shot totally digitally but Mihai Malaimare Junior's 1080p/24 source HDCAM photography is stunning, shot predominately in monochrome using a 2.35:1 aspect ratio but electing to use a smaller ratio for 1960s home movie style, washed out colour flashbacks and full "Technicolor" for the Powell and Pressburger inspired fantasy ballet sequences. There is obviously no loss in quality when transferring this to Blu-ray and the film's visuals are demonstration material and further proof that there will be life after celluloid in this medium.

Newcomer Alden Ehrenreich is a revelation as Bennie, there aren't many young actors who could hold their own in their screen debut opposite the force of nature that is Vincent Gallo who embodies the damaged Tetro with equal measures of egotistical charm and severe self-loathing; the acting across the board is faultless as with most Coppola productions he insists on a large amount of read-through, rehearsal and improvisational time before shooting and it always pays off in the camera.

Bennie cannot understand why Tetro appears so cold towards him, especially after leaving him a note claiming that he would return to collect him from New York at some point. Both brothers have aspirations to become writers but Tetro along with his past has abandoned his great work, an unfinished play about their father, but when Bennie discovers it in a dusty suitcase he sees not only an opportunity to finish the story but by staging it at the local cafe theatre where Tetro works the lights he can force him to confront his demons.

In the few scenes where he appears Klaus Maria Brandauer brings great presence to the dual role of the elder Tetrocini brothers and Coppola reveals just enough for us to understand the dynamics between the rival siblings; as the maestro Carlo he is effortlessly charismatic, his fame and fortune seducing his son Angelo's girlfriend, and as Alfredo you see an older man forced to live in the shadow of his younger brother's success. These themes are echoed in the future generation of Tetrocini brothers with Angelo envying Bennie's acclaim when his finished version of his play entitled "Wander Lust" is shortlisted for the top prize at the Patagonia Festival gaining the approval of the mysterious critic "Alone" played by Pedro Almodovar's muse Carmen Maura; Tetro had once been her protegee but they had a falling out over artistic differences.

I shan't spoil the film's climatic twist which occurs in the extended Patagonia sequence which many critics have dismissed out of hand as self-indulgent without one I've read bothering to comment that stylistically it's very obviously an homage to Federico Fellini and no doubt aware of its unreal quality. I want to say that Tetro could well be the best film of the decade but I know that I'd be stretching it, however it is certainly Francis Ford Coppola's best film in a very long time and as such it should be regarded as he is one the true artists working in cinema today.
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on 1 October 2011
Having read five glowing 5 star reviews here i decided to buy this dvd. The Director Coppolla directed my favourite movie - Apocalypse Now. On the back of those two factors 'Tetro' must be worth a watch. Right?
Wrong. It is not.

Firstly nothing happens for the first half hour. The movie plods on for over two hours with mostly black and white (monochrome) shots. Technically the movie is a film-students wet dream as it is brilliantly shot with beautiful cinematography........... but the story in Tetro is not engaging.

The story - Bennie turns up on the doorstep of his long-lost brother Tetro (Vincent Gallo), sparking Tetro's frustrated creative ambitions. The pair then enter a theatre festival competition and thats it.....dull.

I felt no empathy for any of the characters. I was not drawn into the movie in any way. Not even the car crash or the other plot delevelopments interested me. This would have been a great short movie, not a meandering two hour plus snoozefest..

No doubt i will have other reviewers writing aggressive messages to me on the back of this review. Tht thing is I actually enjoy Francis Coppollas movies (conversation, Godfather, Apc Now); also i watched his daughters 'Lost in Translation' again last night. My favourite director is Terrence Malick......i digress..

In conclusion 'Tetro' is dull and pretensious. Intellectual snobs will love this movie...... You know people who love to have coffee table books around, or Marxist dialectical imperative pamphlets lying around that they pretend to read? Or Jean Luc Godard films that they pretend to understand?

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on 22 August 2010
This film is so utterly beautiful to look at. Saturated monochrome (if that's possible!) and saturated colour sequences; dramatic and emotional intensity; theatrical presentation and references; total immersion in the main characters; lovely dance and music; well-constructed gripping narrative; international flavour; excellent ensemble casting; I'm not tutored in such things but is this Coppola as auteur? Anyway what more could you want? This film's a triumph of the independent cinematic craft.
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on 27 May 2010
Usually, when i've been waiting a long time to watch a movie and built up my anticipation during this waiting period it inevitably disappoints, simply because it can't match my expectations. This was not the case with Coppola's bilingual monochrome masterpiece about a troubled bohemian running from his past. The hypnotic Vincent Gallo proves to be an inspired choice for the lead role of Angelo Tetrocini but Alden Ehrenreich is also very impressive as his younger brother Bennie Tetrocini; comparisons to a young Leonardo Di'Caprio were suggested by myself and others whilst watching his performance. The pacing of the story builds slowly but successfully brews an ominous mood of intrigue with some stategically placed twists enhanced by some superb lighting effects. This, in turn, emotionally attaches the characters with the viewer and rounds off a thoroughly entertaining fable.

Coppola breaks celluloid lore by colourizing the past and maintaining a monochrome present throughout, but this is a very clever decision as it highlights the fact that Tetro's previous life as Angelo was more illuminated than his present existance which is riddled with guilt and pain. When Bennie discovers the coded scribblings Tetro produced during his time in a mental facility, his initial focus was to gain some understanding about his elusive brother but this soon alters when he realizes the intense power of Tetro's writing. Can Bennie's unwanted intervention propel Tetro into the limelight of stardom that his own pessimistic demons have prevented him from accomplishing? Will this decision prove to be the right one; or, will it tear Bennie and Tetro apart forever? A highly recommended purchase for anyone wanting to see Francis Ford Coppola back on top form with a flick that has a heart peppered in mystery and/or a strong esoteric performance from the enigmatic Vincent Gallo - Tetro truly is an emotionally charged treat.
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on 9 April 2016
Oh dear. I am probably thick as others have seen something I cannot. An exercise un style over substance. No story, one dimensional characters, a hackneyed plot and wooden acting fron Snr Gallo in partic. I watched La Zona last night ... try that for plot, characterisation and top acting
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on 31 December 2013
If you don't like Vincent's style of acting - it's not for you. But if like me you think his look and character are really watchable then add it to your collection. I loved it as an interesting drama (about family grudges).
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