The Encore of Tony Duran (2011/2015)

The Encore of Tony Duran (2011/2015)

Cast: Gene Pietragallo, Elliott Gould, Cody Kasch, Nikki Ziering
Director: Fred A. Sayeg
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 5.1, English closed captions
Studio: Cinedigm OM4766 [7/7/15]
Extras: Commentary track by director, Inside Look Interviews, Movie promo
Length: 86 min.
Rating: ****

This film as a story that most people could relate to. The actor who plays Tony Duran seem like the real thing, and his original fat, ugly, heavy drinking, sweaty self becomes a real mensch at the end with his encore of the high point of his short show business time, when he did a Bobby Darin imitation on video, which he repeats for an enthusiastic crowed at the finale.

Tony’s early messing-up with everyone around him is ended by his friend, a retired comic actor (who had worked for the mob), played skillfully by Elliot Gould. Tony’s darkest hour is borrowing money from his friend to try to sell some cocaine but he ends up having his money stolen by a dangerous and sinister drug chemist. He loses his connection with his son who had been living with him. He has to reach rock bottom before he can begin to get his life together and follow the strict rules of his friend. (Made even more solid by the discount his friend gives him on the money he borrowed.) The sharing of his shambles of a life is a bit depressing in the first half of the film, but the second half, when he begins his comeback, is inspiring. And there are some very funny bits too. It was shot entirely in Palm Springs.

We often hear of an actor who either lost or gained a lot of weight for a particular role in a film, but Pietragallo had to lose lots of weight and change his whole appearance during this film.

—John Sunier

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