Film review: Prizzi’s Honor (1985), directed by John Huston
Charley Partanna (Jack Nicholson) works as a hitman for the mob, that is to say the Prizzi Family. At a wedding, he sees – and falls in love with – Irene Walker (Kathleen Turner). Things would be just peachy, if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s a hired assassin. That complicates things, especially when they decide to pull off a kidnapping together – and accidentally shoot a policeman’s wife who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Meanwhile, Maerose Prizzi (Anjelica Huston), who was engaged to Charley once upon a time, doesn’t like her old flame having found a new love, so she plots to throw spanners into the works.
Also starring John Randolph as ‘Pop’ Partanna, CCH Pounder in a cameo as a pot-smoking maid (!), and the Prizzis: Eduardo (Robert Loggia), Don Corrado (William Hickey) and Dominic (Lee Richardson).
I did not take to this film at all. Nicholson’s character seemed half lobotomised at times, and the love story was confusing. Apparently, they were actually in love, for real. I fully expected Turner’s character to lead him on and at any point turn around and … I don’t know, shoot him? Scam him? Not trying to live happily ever after.
The Don creeped me out. At first, when you see him in church, I thought “hey, he kind of looks like an older version of Christian Camargo“. Then he spoke. And then I wanted to cower into a ball and tell the bad man to go away.
There’s just something about Mafia films that make me yawn. Unless it’s Bugsy Malone, because that film has an awesome soundtrack. Sure, the opera and classical music in this one was good too, but … it was still about the Mafia. Yawn?
Nah, I just didn’t like it, and couldn’t get into it. Found out later that it received a bunch of Academy Award nominations. Angelica Huston even won for Best Supporting Actress, and didn’t just score an Oscar in that category, but a bunch of other awards too. Apparently the director, John Huston, was her dad, and this was his penultimate film as he passed away in 1987.
Nicholson is a very good actor. I really like Kathleen Turner. Anjelica Huston is fab. But the film was not the sort of comedy I expected, and because it said it was a comedy, I watched it. So it was disappointing. Maybe I should just avoid mob films in the future.
2 out of 5 families.
(UPDATE August 2021: Oh how times have changed! 😂😂😂 I should re-watch this film now that I do like Mafia films.)