Family at centre of 'Loose Cannons'

Loose Cannons. (Supplied)

Loose Cannons. (Supplied)

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

Almost everybody has a secret in Loose Cannons, a comedy/drama mix about an Italian family full of eccentrics. The film is beautifully shot and set in Lecce, in Puglia, so breathtaking scenery is an important character.

Tommaso (Riccardo Scamarcio) and his brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi) are chatting before a major family dinner. This is the dinner where their father will introduce his new business partner; the family has a pasta-making business and is about to merge with another such outfit.

At this dinner, Tommaso tells his brother, he intends to tell three truths: that he actually studied literature, not business; that he wants to be a novelist, not a pasta-making magnate; and that he's gay. His hope, he tells Antonio, is that their father will kick him out of the family and he'll be free to live life as he chooses.

At the fateful dinner, however, Antonio makes his own earth-shattering announcement before Tommaso can open his mouth. So Antonio is thrown out, dad has a heart attack, and all hell breaks loose.

Now Tommaso is stuck, trying to decide between coming out and living an honest life or being dutiful to his homophobic father and the business.

There are complications. Mom (Lunetta Savino) is in denial. The new business partner has a wild daughter, Alba (Nicole Grimaudo), who is attracted to Tommaso. Tommaso's lover and a handful of gay friends from Rome turn up at the family house, and proceed to try to act 'straight'. Loose Cannons also weaves in other family members: a tipsy aunt, some faithful household staff, a wise grandmother (Ilaria Occhini) with an interesting past. And so on.

It's as complicated and colorful as family usually is.

The humour in Loose Cannons is a bit obvious; also, it seems hard to believe that the family patriarch would be quite so hysterically anti-gay, a notion played for laughs, but never mind.

The best parts of the film are the family relationships and the friendship that eventually develops between Tommaso and Alba. (There is a terrific early scene of them eating sandwiches together that is charged with sexual electricity, at least on her side.) Everyone in the family seems to have one or two secrets related to love and loss, and those dramatic elements of the storytelling play out well.

Loose Cannons was the opening night film at Toronto's Inside Out movie festival. The film is in Italian, with English subtitles.


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