Loose Cannons (Mine vaganti)

Loose Cannons (Mine vaganti)

Loose Cannons (Mine vaganti) (Director: Ferzan Ozpetek): Routinely making ensemble pieces with a homosexual component, Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek again reiterates his auteur statement – suggesting that family is what you make for yourself rather than something dictated by blood – with Loose Cannons, a quirky comedy-drama about a young man’s thwarted efforts to come out of the closet to his exceedingly conservative Italian family. And while somewhat more accessible than Saturn in Opposition or Ignorant Fairies, Loose Cannons never really breaks new ground or works as the sum of its parts, having more potential than actual success.

Here, the familial drama starts when Tommaso’s (Riccardo Scarmarcio) plans to come out to his father Vincenzo (Ennio Fantastichini) are ruined when his brother – the co-owner of the family pasta business – Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi) unexpectedly announces his homosexuality first. When the news gives Vincenzo a heart attack, Tommaso decides to stay in the closet, leading to inevitable comic shenanigans when his flamboyantly gay group of friends shows up at the family estate for a weekend of awkwardly veiled sexual references.

Because Ozpetek’s direction is mostly stationary and functional, observing relationship dynamics with a competent but undiscerning eye, this story never moves far beyond its surface plot machinations, commenting on the nature of family through the source screenplay without a great deal of subtlety. Everyone states their disposition in point form, occasionally hiding it from each other, but always having some form of confidante, be it a grandparent, a mistress or a removed family friend and flirtation.

Also, since everything is framed with a slightly camp, hyperbolic eye, there’s never much opportunity to identify with any of the character plights, leaving only gauche stereotypes, such as a single sex-fueled vampy aunt and a bunch of gay clichés prancing around to dance music to fill the peripheral, non-expositional runtime.

It’s all assembled professionally enough, solidified by committed performances and lush cinematography while repeatedly preaching the importance of personal integrity, but it offers little beyond its overly colour saturated, sun-drenched veneer, acting only as a passing and mildly entertaining diversion.

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