"Tony Duran" Doesn't Need An Encore Review

Nobody gives a shit about act one.

That's not entirely true but the point is well taken. A life and a movie might well overcome poor beginnings. Ironically, lives that start with a rough act one make better movies than movies with a rough act one. That's the difference between emotions and craftsmanship. Emotions make for nuanced beauty, but there isn't much you can do with a polished turd. The Encore of Tony Duran (2011) isn't a turd, but it is a rough hewn chunk of unglamorous stone. It's an independent film that suffers from so many of that genre's faults and hardly takes advantage of its possibilities. Because The Encore of Tony Duran doesn't come from an independent spirit or story, it's a conventional TV-movie story without the budget or craft to make it slick or real.

Tony Duran (Gene Pietragallo) has almost hit rock bottom. His drinking is out of control and he's in debt up to his eyeballs without any income. He's in real estate and the recession wasn't too good for real estate. All he has is his son, Michael (Cody Kasch), who is just about done with him, and his buddy Jerry (Elliott Gould). When Tony's plan to become a cocaine dealer doesn't come through, he's finally in debt to both of them. Jerry decides to hit Tony with some tough love and get Tony to pay him back by pushing himself back into the singing career he gave up. And shed some of that weight.

Like the well-proportioned, talented singer underneath Tony Duran, there's a good movie inside of The Encore of Tony Duran. One with less stodgy dialogue and less stilted performances. The finale is so impressive that it deserves a better opening, better lensing, and better audio. A lot of that is budget, and you can't fault director Fred A. Sayeg for that, but some of it is taste. Surely letting the camera work for a couple more seconds and cutting the voice-over by about 80% were within their grasp. Writer Mitchell Cohen uses just ten too many words with most lines and likes two punchlines instead of one. And Elliott Gould... Well, I watched The Long Goodbye (1973) before this. Not fair, but still.

Bonus features

"The Inside Story", a video commentary, and promo.

"The Encore of Tony Duran" is on sale July 7, 2015 and is not rated. Drama. Directed by Fred A Sayeg. Written by Mitchell Cohen. Starring Elliott Gould, Gene Pietragallo.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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