List Film

Tetro (3 stars)


(15) 126min

The success of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now means it’s easy to forget that director Francis Ford Coppola was once a radical and gifted independently minded screenwriter and director. His return from a decade-long directing hiatus was the bewildering adaptation of Mircea Eliade’s novel Youth Without Youth. With Tetro – Coppola’s first original screenplay since 1974’s The Conversation – the famed ‘New Hollywood’ director moves to the familiar of the failure of the family unit, with a black-and-white palate of his 1983 brat pack benchmark Rumble Fish. Vincent Gallo plays Tetro, a one-promising writer residing in Buenos Aires with his girlfriend (Maribel Verdu), who is annoyed when his younger brother Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich) suddenly appears asking questions about an unfinished play that Tetro was working on when he suddenly left America. The opening shots of Bennie arriving look like a perfume commercial and seeing Gallo hobble around on a leg cast (he broke his leg as filming was about to commence) only adds to the sense of Tetro being a broken man. Bennie by contrast is the Holden Caulfield type, unaffected by his own torrid relationship with his domineering father (Klaus Maria Brandauer) who feels that he can reignite his brother’s lust for life. Alas, Coppola’s tendency for over-indulgence takes over, with colour flashbacks that are poorly shot, a preposterous twist, and a storyline that runs out of steam at the production of a burlesque play. Still Tetro is a welcome return to some kind of form for the bearded behemoth. (Kaleem Aftab)

Cameo, Edinburgh and selected release from Fri 25 Jun.

Official Trailer


  • 2009
  • US/Italy/Spain/Argentina
  • 126 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Written by: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Cast: Vincent Gallo

Coppola's first original screenplay since 1974, 'Tetro' moves in the familiar territory of the failure of the family unit. Alas, his tendency for over-indulgence takes over, with poorly shot flashbacks, a preposterous twist, and a storyline that runs out of steam.


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