Guatemala Signs Several Trade Agreements

Director:Abel Ferrara
Writer:Nicholas St. John
Director of Photography:Ken Kelsch
Editors:Bill Pankow and Mayin Lo
Music:Joe Delia
Production Designer:Charles Lagola
Producer:Mary Kane
October Films; R; 99 minutes
Cast:Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Annabella Sciorra, Isabella Rossellini, Vincent Gallo and Benicio Del Toro

Don't worry if you leave the theater utterly baffled. You won't be the only one to ask, “What just happened?” about the ending of Ferrara's new gangster film. But forgive him the confusion: the rest of the film is a perfectly cast, dark meditation on family, religion, guilt and capitalism set in the 1930s. Beginning at the funeral of Johnny Tempio (Gallo), the youngest and least devoted brother in a mob family, the film chronicles the family history in flashbacks and sets the stage for Johnny's demise. Father figure Ray Tempio (Walken) runs the family racketeering business. Volatile middle brother Chez (Penn) runs a bar. The women in the family, Clara (Rossellini), Ray's wife, and Jean (Sciorra), Chez's wife, are strong but resentful. Questions and confusion surround Johnny's death. Was rival mobster Gaspare (Del Toro) involved? After all, Johnny did sleep with Gaspare's wife. The ambiguous motives and agendas make an intelligent study of tortured characters.

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