‘Family First, Friends Second, The Mob Above All’
Frederick J. Stroppel
Vincent Spano (Al Stanco), Maria Grazia Cucinotta (Gabriela), Danny Aiello (Danny Parente), Abe Vigoda (Uncle Guy), Ricky Aiello (Nicky Vetrino), Tony Danza (Louie Crisci), Jennifer Esposito (Donna Delgrosso), Morgana King (Aunt Rose), Janice Steinmetz (Angie Stanco), Vincent Pastore (Vinnie ‘D’)
Childhood friends Al Stanco and Nicky Vetrino get sucked into the dark world of their mafia friend Danny Parente (Danny Aiello) while a young Sicilian girl, who rents a room from Al’s aunt, is making a movie about Brooklyn. She brings back old memories and some of the things she uncovers brings certain people in awkward positions. A time of new alliances has come to the neighborhood.
The good thing about A Brooklyn State of Mind is the way it creates a neighborhood feel. Brooklyn is shot and treated as a living and breathing character which gives you the feeling that you are really there. It is a nice place, a family place, but it isn’t all good. The real Brooklyn is also violent and corrupt. The mob is a destructive force, that much becomes clear.
A Brooklyn State of Mind had the potential to be a nice little movie, but doesn’t quite make it. The casting of Vincent Spano as leading man and Ricky Aiello is obviously a mistake. They come across as unnatural in a film that feels quite real. This authentic feel is also disturbed by the plot, which becomes very soapish towards the end. Danny Aiello makes up for this partly with his adequate role as the main villain.
DANNY PARENTE: “If you don’t want to be eaten, don’t swim with the big fish.”
Features two actors from The Godfather. Morgana King (Aunt Rose) who played Mama Corleone and Abe Vigoda (Uncle Guy) who played Sal Tessio.
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