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Baby daddy drama in TETRO

Francis Ford Coppola’s latest, TETRO, has everything an epic family drama should have: greed, ego, sex and lies that span generations and pit fathers against sons against brothers. It centers around the Tetrocinis, a male dominated bunch, constantly duking it out over the women in their lives. Trouble starts when Bennie (played by prodigious young Alden Ehrenreich, who bears a striking resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio in his boyish days) starts digging up family history that Tetro (Vincent Gallo) would prefer to keep buried. Gallo is a great casting choice for hot-headed, impetuous and self-impressed Tetro who is lucky to have Miranda (Maribel Verdú, of PAN’S LABYRINTH, who is absolutely great), his loving girlfriend whose levelheadedness is often the only thread holding everything together.

It’s melodrama to the max. Expect lots of fighting, rivalry, and betrayal. But it’s compelling, not hokey, and it’s shot beautifully in black and white (with a few CGI enhanced color sequences of questionable necessity). In fact, the complex story unfolds so seamlessly that you’re glued to your seat even though you’ve had to pee for the last hour, thinking you may have a near perfect movie on your hands, but sadly, in the last 20 minutes or so the story lines unravel to a disappointing and unrealistic conclusion of an otherwise tightly wrought film.