The Florentine (1999)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Buzz McClain

There are "big" movies and there are "small" movies, and The Florentine is of the latter category. No elaborate special effects, no expensive studio stars, no exotic locations, but one thing the film does have is a big heart. Gritty to a fault, The Florentine captures the everyday lives of everyday blue-collar people down to the stench of the beer on the floor of the titular corner pub. The various tightly wound subplots keep things interesting -- especially Jim Belushi's too smooth con -- but the ensemble acting is the real draw. Second-tier actors Chris Penn, Virginia Madsen, Mary Stuart Masterson, Luke Perry, Jeremy Davies, and even Burt Young take the script and run with their roles, and the story, based on a stage play, rises with them. It helps that the revered Hal Holbrook appears to show the kids in the cast how to act with taste and humility. This is good human drama that goes for the beer gut, not the tear ducts, and is worthy of a soundtrack that includes Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.