When the family pivotal to the narrative of this picture sit down
for breakfast, all, as is usually the case, is not what it seems. Looks
sneak from the corners of eyes, lips purse and asses shift in seats.
These beautiful people are far from comfortable. And this an intriguing
piece of cinema makes.
As a viewer we revel in the misfortune of others, and Loose Cannons
is no exception. From a father’s mistress to a son’s inward conflict
with bisexuality, this an elegant yet tragic picture centreing around
relations and the importance of holding a front in the name of your
The passengers on this train wreck of social disaster are the
Cantones, and at the helm eldest brother Antonio, whose stolen
announcements sends events bubbling to the surface. Holding together the
pieces he’s ripped apart is younger Tommaso (Scamarcio) closet
gay and too concerned with what everybody else wants. Stern browed and
disarming his personal struggles aren’t greatly helped by the arrival of
the stunning Alba (Grimaudo) who keys cars and falls undeniable smitten with her new colleague.
Amidst the chaos Tommaso’s friends fly in on a reel of lycra and Barbara Steisand ballards,
Vincenzo takes refuge in the arms of his rather rounded lover and a
diabetic Grandmother dips longingly into her romantic past. It’s a colourful film, that’s for true.
A somewhat unheard of concept in the British industry, the handling
of a gay central character in a commercial film is done very well in
that it doesn’t define him, bowing instead to Tommaso’s hidden passion
of writing and need to keep his family together. Even when his friends
arrive, the focus is on home and familiarity and not sexuality, which in
it’s own right is charming, especially their comic attempts to
“straighten up” in the eyes of his prejudiced parents.
For two such complex characters, the anticipated romance between Alba
and Tommaso is very innocently played and spared any humour, save for a
lingering shot of her and Tommaso’s gay lover dancing together and
looking longingly at him, both desperately unaware that they are not
This contributes directly to the central theme of the narrative; the
need to please. It’s what drives Tommaso’s secrecy, Stefania’s opted blindness towards her husband’s affair,
Vincenzo’s painful public smile masking contempt for his uncloseted
son. It’s a world of struggle which, at times funny, at times very sad,
falls against the sort of gorgeous Italian setting that makes everything
a little shinier.
Juxtaposed against the current day is a sequence of events from the grandmother past (her younger self played by a striking Carolina Crescentini) showing that life for the Cantones was always doomed to follow in path of love triangles, scandals and drama.
And yet the grandmother seems not to want to let go of these memories
as she reminisces as a shadow of her former self; aged and diabetic, no
longer permitted life’s temptations.
And this is how the film rounds off, with the aliveness of the
unknown. Aside from a forgiving nod from father to gay son there is no
sound conclusion to these events but no one seems to mind as they dance
alongside characters of the past, content in carrying on as they are and
as a collective.