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The Last Rites of Joe May

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Apr 17, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

Short-money hustler Joe May (Dennis Farina, Snatch, Law & Order) always believed he had a glorious future ahead of him, despite all evidence to the contrary. Released from the hospital after a long battle with pneumonia, Joe is forced to confront the harsh reality of his legacy: Everyone he knew had assumed he was dead, and life had gone on around him without missing a beat. Returning to his old Chicago neighborhood, he finds his car gone, all his worldly possessions pawned by his landlord, and the apartment he s lived in his entire adult life rented out to Jenny (Jamie Anne Allman, The Killing), a single mother with an eight-year-old daughter. But even with the odds stacked drastically against him, Joe finds an opportunity for one last shot at redefining his legacy.

Special Features

  • Outtakes
  • An Interview with Director Joe Maggio, presented by American Express

Review

Farina recalls Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City there is an emotional payoff that feels solid and right. --Variety

...simple and affecting drama...Maggio makes the story work by beginning where many would end: Joe’s already at his wits end. --indieWIRE

...reminiscent of the tough guy films of the '70s and early '80s that made stars out of Burt Reynolds and Joe Don Baker...you've never seen Dennis Farina like this before. --Examiner

...simple and affecting drama...Maggio makes the story work by beginning where many would end: Joe s already at his wits end. --indieWIRE

...reminiscent of the tough guy films of the '70s and early '80s that made stars out of Burt Reynolds and Joe Don Baker...you've never seen Dennis Farina like this before. --Examiner

Product Details

  • Actors: Dennis Farina, Gary Cole, Jamie Anne Allman
  • Directors: Joe Maggio
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Tribeca
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006ENHFNW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,124 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Laura E. Bondarchuk on March 14, 2013
Format: Amazon Video
If you are a Dennis Farina fan, which I am in a big way, this is a must see - possibly the most difficult, layered and subtle performance of his career. That said, and without spoiling it, the story is also engaging and darkly satisfying. Brilliant script played by a great cast, I want to own this one.
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Format: DVD
Joe May might be the most pitiful, sad-sack mobster ever portrayed in the cinema, which makes for a wonderful story.

"The Last Rites of Joe May" stars Dennis Farina, usually known for playing mobsters and cops, and usually in his native city of Chicago; which is fine, since Farina was once a Chicago cop himself.

The movie opens with an old Joe May being released from a Chicago hospital, after spending seven weeks on his back due to a bad case of pneumonia. After he is released from the hospital, May returns to his shabby apartment - wearing a ridiculously outdated rust-colored leather jacket - and discovers he's been evicted because the owner of the building thought he was dead. The new tenants are a 30-somethingish mother, Jenny, played by Jamie Anne Allman, and her 7-year-old daughter, Angelina, played by Meredith Droeger.

After spending one night in the apartment at the request of Jenny, May leaves and tries to assemble what remains of his life. To his dismay, May finds out his 1989 Cutlass has been impounded and sold. Then he goes to his local bank to cash in whatever he money has left: which turns out to be a measly $443.

"That's all?" May barks at the bank teller.

After being assuring that $443 is all the cash left in his account, May asks for the money as follows: two hundreds, two fifties, five twenties, and 43 single dollar bills.

He puts the hundreds on the top and buries the 43 singles in the middle, folds them in half, and puts a rubber band around his roll; to give the impression to his mob pals that he's still in the pink, which is far from the truth.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Dennis Farina, the former Chicago cop turned actor, occupies center stage in this Chicago-based (and actually filmed in the Windy City for once!) indie drama about a small-time hustler at the end of his life. With a title that references the Catholic prayers for the dying, "The Last Rites of Joe May" is filled with Italian opera music and a funereal musical score, but is nevertheless free of any overt religiosity other than its requiem-like style.

Authentic characters, dramatic situations, and dialogue contribute to the gritty charm of this little 107-minute story of broken people trapped in dysfunctional behavior patterns. Released from the hospital after a seven-week bout with pneumonia, Farina's titular character watches his life gradually unravel around him, finding grace only in an odd friendship with a single mom (played by Jamie Anne Allman) and her daughter who have occupied his former apartment. When the woman's cop boyfriend starts hitting her, tension builds as the film moves toward a predictably violent climax.

This old-fashioned movie, carefully crafted with minimal dialogue and action, works pretty well on its modest own level and drags just a bit in the middle. Farina's naturalistic acting carries the day, as he conveys the emotional impact of each scene with his body language and voice. It's a tour de force performance in a relatively small movie, shining all the more brightly because the stakes are so low. Familiar character actors Chelcie Ross ("Rudy") and Gary Cole ("Office Space") provide solid supporting work -- particularly Cole as a weary little street boss who moves stolen merchandise like he's picking out floor tiles for a truck stop restroom.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying I'm a big fan of the director Joe Maggio, if you haven't seen Virgil Bliss, then you really owe it to yourself to watch a remarkable film that has amazing character development. Like many of Joe Maggio's films, it's shot on a shoestring budget, but the characters are always developed and memorable.

Back to the story of Joe May, a Chicago low life hustler, fading into a sunset of assisted living and homelessness. Dennis Farina plays Joe May a small time criminal who has just returned from a lengthy hospital stay without much fanfare. Other then the occasional "I thought you were dead" comments from his "friends", he really hasn't made an impact on anyone life.

From that point the story delves into Joe's bleak future, living without anyone or anything. He's broke, his health is failing and he has no one, but his redemption is Jenny Rapp and her daughter Angelina, who take Joe into his old apartment and rent him a room to stay. The bond with Joe and Angelina is strong, she instantly relates even though he maintains his rough exterior throughout.

While I can comment more on this story, I would like to say that the beautiful and stark cinematography really does add to this film's feel and the despair of growing old and dying alone. Hats off to Jay Silver, you did an amazing job. The acting holds up, and since this is Dennis Farina's lead role, he picked a winner. The supporting cast is strong, not great but very good.

This film is full of grit and the sadness, but in the end there is redemption.

Overall, I give this a solid 4 stars.
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