Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Reviews of "The Narrows"

Reviews of "The Narrows", currently screening at The Toronto Film Festival.

Photo: Kevin Zegers, Sophia Bush, Francois Velle

Thank you NLfan and Ammiratore for sharing your experience with us!

Screening on 9.8.08 --
From NLfan:
"I LOVED IT". Those three words best describe my reaction to "The Narrows". It is a wonderful movie. I was totally engrossed from beginning to end. I have not read the book so I was not at all expecting the "twist" from Vincent's character near the end. I wasn't the only one surprised because the audience broke into laughter and applause. LOCI/Bobby Goren fans will be happy to know that there is a scene where Vincent even does a little dance.

Vincent delivers his usual great performance but I was also very impressed with Kevin Zegers who played Vincent's son. I thought he did a fabulous job. I didn't know that he is a Canadian who lives right here in Toronto. I predict big things for him. There was prolonged applause from the audience at the end of the movie. IMHO this movie has big box office appeal. I hope they get a good distributor for it.

Bottom line: Two thumbs way up from me. I'm actually really looking forward to seeing it again tomorrow night (now tonight actually). There was so much going on in every scene that I know I didn't catch everything the first time around.

The Director Francois Velle was there tonight as was Kevin Zegers, Sophia Bush, screenwriter Tatiana Blackington and other members of the cast and crew. Mr. Velle was introduced and said a few words before the screening and again at the end at which time Kevin, Sophia, Tatiana and several others (whom I unfortunately can't recall) were also introduced and said a few words. It was heartbreaking to think that Vincent might also have been there. They then spent quite a while answering questions from the audience. The director read out an e-mail message from Vincent. He said he was sorry he couldn't be there and also explained why the did the role. He said there were three reasons: it was shot in Brooklyn where he grew up; the character he played was very much like the men he knew when he was growing up there; the quality of the others attached to the film. He didn't address his reason for not coming to Toronto.

Dulcineadonna and I were a bit late leaving the theatre and found the Director and the screenwriter both in the lobby with very few others around. We approached them, congratulated them both, got our tickets autographed and then said we were both big fans of Vincent and asked him to pass on a message of "Congratulations" to Vincent for an excellent performance, a sentiment which both Mr. Velle and Ms. Blackington said they totally agreed with. Dulcineadonna then asked Mr. Velle what it was like to work with Vincent. Mr. Velle said that at first he was a bit anxious because he had heard that working with Vincent could be challenging. He said that nothing could be further from the truth. He said they worked together "with love and respect" (exact words). He said Vincent was a big help to him and others because of his knowledge of the area and its culture. He also said that he wished he could take credit, but how the "reveal" scene was done (where everybody laughed and applauded) was totally Vincent's idea. He said that at the end of filming Vincent gave him a big hug, told him he loved him and said to give him a call if he ever needed anything. Mr Velle said "Vincent is a great guy with a big heart" (exact quote). Dulcineadonna and I both agreed that speaking about Vincent with someone who actually knows him was the highlight of our night. Hopefully tomorrow night (tonight now)we will get a chance to talk to some of the other cast about working with Vincent.

In other news, Dulcineadonna and I actually met for the first time today. We have a lot in common and really got along great together. It was wonderful to share the experience with another Vincent fan.

Phillipo, with respect to your question, my home is 2987 kilometers (1851 miles) from Toronto. I flew here on Sunday and despite my disappointment in not seeing Vincent, I'm not sorry I came. I'll be leaving again on Wednesday. Dulcineadonna lives on the outskirts of Toronto, approximately one hour driving time from the area where the Film Festival events are taking place.

I'll post again with another update tomorrow night.

From Ammiratore:
Tonight's presentation at TIFF was the world premiere for this movie.
The very first scene opens with a still shot of Vinnie Manadoro, aka VDO. This movie was harder, graphic and softer in places than I expected. The role of Vinnie, Mike Manadoro's(the main character) father is far more extensive in the movie than in the book, upon which this movie is based. He is also 'softer' as in not so rough and gruff. All the cast do well, especially Kevin Zegers as Mike and Vincent as Vinnie. And for the die hard LOCI fans, you will recognize a number of other NY actors in supporting roles. This is definately a tale for mature audiences, and I don't wanty to get into the story line for those who are yet to see it, but a lot of the language is colourful and hard and there are 3 very graphic (violent) scenes, one of which in particular my friend and I discussed should be seriously toned down for general release, but that's only our opinion based on our own sensibilities. We were pleasently surprised with the extended development of Vincent's character, and he 'plays' it beautifully...and considering he went into this just 2 weeks after the rap of Season 6, he looks/looked absolutely fabulous...lol. The main story is that of Mike, his struggles and his choices, but the other, strong undercurrent is the story of his and his father's relationship.....and this is where Vincent truely shines, he manages to portray the love and devotion to his son and his welfare without compromising the understanding of the harsh world in which they live and operate.......their last scene together is priceless and received bursts of applause and cheers from the audience......to be honest it was the character of Vinnie that garnered the most response from the audience.
There was a nice surprise at the end of the movie when the director, Fran├žois A. Velle, Sophia Bush, Kevin Zegers and 2 of the producers came out from the audience for a Q&A on the stage. Fran├žois acknowledged that he had received an email from Vincent and read it to the audience a little while later. No reason for not showing up just a shout out an Hi to his castmatres and an "eh" to everyone attending...( that's the canadian equivalent)

So that's my little report, hope you enjoyed it and YES I would definately recommend seeing this movie as and when you can, keeping in mind what I said earlier about it being a mature theme.

This is a movie all contributors can be proud of,especially Kevin, and with no bias I can honestly say a genuine BRAVA to Vincent as yet again, he really stole the show.



Blogger rad-er said...

Thanks so much for the great reviews, NLFan and Ammiratore! They were as satisfying as seeing photos of Vincent; especially reading Velle's warm comments. That's why we all love our guy.
I was afraid Vincent had a smaller role, but am SO looking forward to seeing The Narrows now.
Enjoy the rest of your time in Toronto.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Regina Caschetto said...

Thank you so much for sharing your reviews and experiences at the festival-it's so kind of you to bring us along on your adventure-

10:15 AM  
Blogger phillipo said...

oh wow,

there were five of us gathered round the computer reading this, cooing and gasping at your expeineces

you had all of us frollicking happily through the house as we dressed for work this morning.

we know that vincent is just a doll and some may consider him hard to work with becuase he is a perfectionist. give credit where credit it due. he's good at his job and that can make him seem like "alot of work"

thank you for your travel info too. glad u r having fun and send vince a message from all of us hoping he is okay and looking forward to seeing him in season 8.

phillipo and friends(green with envy)

10:22 AM  
Blogger SevsGirl72 said...

Thanks for sharing the review. I'm not going to be able to make it to any of the screenings, but now that I know it is a definite Must-See, I'll make sure not to miss it when it comes out.^^

It is so great to read what Velle had to say about Vincent. If not in person, even hearing what he is like second-hand leaves that warm-fuzzy feeling.

Thanks Again, and Enjoy the rest of the Festival!

10:47 AM  
Blogger fuzzytweetie said...

Thanks for the great review of the movie and of "our" guy!!

My question to everyone is..........why does Mr. D'Onofrio have such a bad rep for being difficult to work with?

I've read in other interviews with directors and actors that that is as far from the truth as you can get. I know that he is intense, dedicated, knowledgeable and proud of his craft and tries to give 110%. He said that an actor can NEVER reach 100% and that each role is a journey that helps with the next project.

I know that intense people are a challenge to work with. Mr. D'Onofrio is a humble man/actor that loves his craft. He wants everyone on a project to do their best, does that make someone difficult?! That's supreme dedication to his craft AND to his fans, IMHO.

I've always wondered if, at one time, he intimidated someone on a set (or hurt their little feelings) about doing their best and that's how the rumors of being "difficult" started.

I hope he stays "being difficult", "intense", "intimidating" if that's what others want to spread. We his fans and those that have worked with and appreciate him know that he is a humble man/actor and wouldn't want him any other way!

Three cheers for "our" favorite guy!!!!!!!!!!!


10:54 AM  
Blogger Lozzie Cap said...

I actually have tears welling up in my eyes when I read these wonderful reviews.

To me, they reflect the fact that our love and devotion towards VDO is something that many, many people - even those who do not know his other work - can appreciate instantly.

I feel so PROUD of him!

Huge thank you to NLFan and Ammiratore for your wonderful reviews, and taking the time to share your experiences with us all.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Vivienne said...

Thanks for both these excellent and very different reviews. I almost felt I was there.

I can't wait to be able to see this film, especially as I now know that Vincent has a larger part than expected. Probably, as reported, Vincent was so good they put more of the stuffed filmed with Vincent, into the film. As you all probably know they always a lot more than goes into the film.

As for Vincent being known for being difficult. In an article that the reel printed somewhere, way back very early in the year, by the man who used to be Vincent's double in the early seasons of Criminal Intent. When they did the read through, Vincent would ask the director questions about the script to see if he or she was prepared, if they were prepared to Vincents satisfaction things would be great. If they weren't prepared then they knew they were in for a rocky ride.

But this is why Vincent is as good as he is and why he has a reputation as a great actor. If Vincent puts in 110% why shouldn't everybody else. Also if other people aren't doing their best, I'm sure Vincent feels this might ruin a film.

It would seem Vincent felt Mr Velle
was well prepared and open to the ideas and great experience that Vincent has, which probably made Vincent happy and comfortable doing this roll.

Vincent could easily qualify a an honorary Yorkshireman, we don't suffer fools gladly! It gets us into trouble all the time.


12:29 PM  
Blogger Susan1212 said...

Thank you nlfan and ammiratore for sharing your visit with us. It's thrilling to hear all your news. I am happily not surprised to hear that Vincent stole the show, again. And I am happy you have made the best of your visit. I hope we will all be able to view the film ourselves soon.

Again, we appreciate your keeping us in the loop.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Vincent works hard, he has every right to expect others to be 'fit for purpose' - and I think the 'bad rap' was probably all down to tiny Andrew McCarthy, yelping like a puppy in pain to the press that Vincent was somehow 'mean' to him - just before Dick Wolf fired him. No sour grapes there then!!

I read the book of 'The Narrows', and wish I could ask a 'graphic' question about Vincent's character, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I guess we'll all just have to wait and see *adds waiting for 'The Narrows' step to the 'LOCI Season 8' dance*.

Thanks again to those who have been SO kind in sharing their Toronto experiences, and I'm sure Vincent would have been there if he possibly could. It was very sweet of him to send an email and I LOVE it when our hearfelt love and appreciation of the man and his talent is bourne out by people who have been fortunate enough to know and work with him.

1:55 PM  
Blogger saghy2 said...


Very good question.

Actually, I've often thought about this, scince watching Vincent's interveiw with Connan O'Brien (many thanks to thereel, again) where O'Brien mentioned that people seemed to get intimidate by Vincent, but never by him....

And just picture the two of them, in your mind: O'Brien is a very tall man, with not so prominent features (with all due respect, Mr. O'brien) and despite his quick witted, quirky sarcasm, we're not intimidated by him....

On the other hand, Vincent is a very tall man too, well-built, with broad shoulders, a hands, that imply protection. He looks like s strong man.

But, people can sense the same strength in his manners too, they can see it in his eyes, in his aura... He IS a strong person, despite his shy, modest personality.

That's the beautiful contradiction about him.

People can feel his strength, and it scares them: "He can protect me.....But what if he stops protecting me....? What if he tries to hurt me...?"

As silly as it may sound, these are the questions that people have in their subcounscious mind. Their answers depend on their backgrounds, their past experiences, their insecurities and hidden fears...Their frame of mind.

Furthermore, there's something about shy, serious, dedicated people, that not so many people can tolerate.

Mr' D'Onofrio, once, said: "Personally -as an actor- I don't always have to be talked to, an treated well, by my director; all I have to be, is confident, that they know how to make a film, and say the right things to the actors....They don't even have to say 'Good morning' to me -'cause I'm not in the mood to say good morning back, sometimes....The only thing, that I care about, while I'm working, is that whoever's the captain, is piloting this ship, in the corrcet way.... "

The truth is, being smart, and/or right, doesn't always make you popular.

But that doesn't prevent so many people, from lving, and praising him.

on the other hand, Vincent uses this "daul-effect" of his, quite perfectly: take a look at all the villains, and good guys, he's played...

And remember the way he confronted Capt. Ross:

"I'm a killer."....


That sneer, and those unforgettable eyebrows....

And one of my very own, personal brainy quots LOL:

"If someone is liked by all, or disliked by all, something's deifinitly wrong with him"......


2:01 PM  
Blogger DonnaJo said...

This film sounds fantastic. I really hope that it picks up a USA Distributer soon, so we can all see it at our local theaters.

Thank you to NLFan and Ammiratore for the reviews, and to Christie for her blog & photos.

2:02 PM  
Blogger val said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Even if the film was rubbish I'd go and see it (if I get the chance!) but knowing it's so well-regarded delights me. I have only seen Vincent on the big screen once, and that was for The Break Up. The best performance, but such a crappy film.

Here's hoping for widespread release - and a few academy award nominations?

As for Vincent being difficult, I think a lot of that stuff came about at the time of his collapse in Season 4, people thought he was being a bit of a prima donna. (Like to see them working that hard and not collapsing.) I believe he was also targeted at that time by some right-wing publications because of his support for Kerry and outspoken dislike of Bush.

Once these things get said, they can never be unsaid, and there are always people who want to use them to prove something negative about a fantastic actor who also seems like a great bloke.

3:47 PM  
Blogger SnarkAngel said...

Thanks you sooooooooooooo much for sharing these incredible and insightful reviews of the film and your experiences! Very generous, indeed!

4:08 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

I wish to thank Ammiratore for her excellent expression of our impressions of The Narrows. She did a great job, much better than I could have.

I wanted to add that, personally, I did not care for the novel upon which this film was based....strictly a personal bias about so much "mob" culture being praised in our society. I could not understand why Mr. D'Onofrio wanted to be involved with this project. It did not seem to have any characters that would appeal to him and his personal sense of morality. I wanted very much to see him in a new film, but I had some deep reservations about the film and how I would react to it.

I now feel that I owe him a huge apology for not trusting his judgement.

From one reading of the screenplay he knew what a marvelous transformation of the book Tatiana Blackington had made in it. She turned it into a very involving and touching story. The part of Vinnie had been turned into a character that cried out for him to play it. And play it he did....with intensity and love. Thank you Mr. D'Onofrio for giving such a marvelous performance.

As Ammiratore stated, all the actors deserve huge amounts of praise for their intense work, but for me, it was his performance in the most complex character that dominated the film.

I hope it gets into wide distribution so that everyone has a chance to see it. I will certainly go to see it again.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I was also lucky enough to see The Narrows last night, and totally agree with the comments that this movie is terrific. There was loud applause when the movie ended, applause again when the cast credits rolled on the screen. Of course, my bias is that the applause was mainly for Vincent. He is absolutely wonderful, the role provided lots of range for him to really open things up, which he does so well. And he has the best scene in the movie, which garnered lots of appreciation from the audience (no more can or should be said for fear of spoiling it). Do not miss this movie!

10:20 PM  

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