Prizzi's Honor (1985)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Crime Comedy, Gangster Film  |   Run Time - 129 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Dan Jardine

This wickedly post-modern gangster film about a dull-witted Mafia hitman who falls for a slightly smarter version of himself is distinguished by the bleakly comic dialogue by Janet Roach, an exquisitely droll performance by Angelica Huston, and an amusingly gravelly-voiced turn by William Hickey as a deceptively vicious don. Based on an irony-rich novel by Richard Condon (The Manchurian Candidate), Prizzi's Honor was craftily directed by Hollywood veteran John Huston and lusciously photographed by Andrej Bartkowiak. The movie so charms us that we almost forget that these are mobsters whose livelihood depends on others' misfortune, a point cleverly driven home when the married mobsters are hired to kill each other. Jack Nicholson alternately hams and charms his way through the role, while Kathleen Turner is in fine full-throated form as the noir-ish femme fatale. The film carries a subversive subtext about American business practices that hints at Condon's and Huston's deeper purpose, but it is so well disguised by Huston's light touch with the dark material that Prizzi's Honor effortlessly transcends its sinister undertones.