Sunday, June 13, 2004
Review by Sombrero Grande
While the action in Big Night progresses slowly, it never feels slow. Every ingredient, character, plot point, etc., feels added just at the right time and in the right amount to make for a delicious cinematic dish.
Big Night tells the story of two brothers from Italy, Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci), trying to make it in America by opening their own restaurant. Primo is a dazzlingly good chef who doesn’t want to sacrifice his culinary art for what’s popular. When Secondo suggests they take risotto off the menu because diners don’t understand what it is and it’s expensive to have on hand, Primo sarcastically suggests they put “hot dogs” in its place. He believes that the quality of the food alone will bring people to their flailing trattoria. The problem is, it hasn’t. With time running out for Secondo to repay the bank’s loans, can one “big night” save the brothers and their restaurant?
The performances, like choice ingredients in a meal, are all top notch here. Tony Shalhoub and Ian Holm are two of my favorite actors to see pop up in a film, and their performances in Big Night are good examples of why. If I have a complaint with the film it’s that it doesn’t feel resolved at the end, like it’s missing a last course. Just like all the tantalizing dishes displayed in Big Night, the film as a whole will leave you hungry...for more.