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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Big Night (1996)



Reviews and Comments

Big Night is a movie about food. Food is everywhere here, and believe it or not, the most fascinating scenes are the ones in which food is featured most prominently. A comparatively vast amount of screen time is given to the serving of a multi-course meal, and it's one of the movie's two best scenes. The second is the final unbroken shot of the cooking and eating of an omelette.

The story is about two Italian brothers who have come to the United States from Italy to open up an Italian restaurant. One of the brothers seems more concerned with the restaurants financial troubles, while the other is more concerned about the art of cooking. An amusing early scene has him smoldering back in the kitchen as one of their customers consumes a dish improperly.

For all its strengths of character and cuisine, however, I found the movie too languid to be fully engaging. There are too many spaces between the good parts and, while what subtle humor there is is of the highest calibre, too little to laugh at. I would have preferred the movie to be a little more profound or a little more biting, or both. But it is an impressive character piece as it is.