Review: ‘Last Rites’

Last Rites holds certain interest but also often borders on the ludicrous, accommodating all the ripest themes that can be derived from the dilemma of being an Italo-American Catholic priest and son of a top Mafioso.

Last Rites holds certain interest but also often borders on the ludicrous, accommodating all the ripest themes that can be derived from the dilemma of being an Italo-American Catholic priest and son of a top Mafioso.

Startling opening scene has an elegant woman stride, pistol in hand, into a ritzy hotel suite and gun down a mobster while he is making love to a woman. The woman, a Mexican named Angela (Daphne Zuniga), escapes and eventually comes under the protection of Father Michael Pace (Tom Berenger), a young priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in New York.

The rugged holy man finds himself having erotic dreams about the saucy young thing in his bed, and finally spirits her south of the border to shed her pursuers.

Donald P. Bellisario, longtime TV writer and producer who co-created Magnum, P.I., stages much of the action vividly, but it’s just not very convincing. Berenger’s casting was an interesting idea, but probably a mistake. Zuniga has divided impact as the femme fatale, sporting a highly variable Spanish accent.

Last Rites

Production

M-G-M. Director Donald P. Bellisario; Producer Donald P. Bellisario, Patrick McCormick; Screenplay Donald P. Bellisario; Camera David Watkin; Editor Pembroke J. Herring; Music Bruce Broughton; Art Director Peter Larkin

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Tom Berenger Daphne Zuniga Chick Vennera Anne Twomey Dane Clark Paul Dooley
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