I can't help but briefly state my view on Francis Ford Coppola's career, and I'm aware that it is an opinion that is quite common. Mr. Coppola went from being one the most innovative minds of his generation (creating classics like The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now) before going crazy with money and making whatever project fell into his lap (Jack?). Since he returned to filmmaking in 2007 with Youth Without Youth, after a decade of absence, he has still decided to adopt an independent sensibility of shooting a film on impulse. The result is something that clearly seems to be missing the care that he put into his past work. Or so that is the conclusion I can reach after watching Tetro.
This black-and-white film features bad-boy Vincent Gallo as Tetro, a writer who has cut himself off from the rest of his family due to some secrets that Coppola tries to set on the grand scale of a tragedy. Well, outside of this turning into a holocaust film (which it doesn't), the deep dark secrets are not enough to warrant the awkwardness that the lead character exhibits toward not only his family but his friends. Coppola tries to make nothing short of an opera out of this tale and yet for all of the emotion and visually pleasing aesthetics, the story of Tetro and his family doesn't really deserve this large of a canvas.
The bright side is that a young actor seems to have found his break-out. Alden Ehrenreich has a certain echo of Leonardo DiCaprio from his Titanic days in his role as Tetro's younger brother. Past that, if you saw the trailer and thought this looked like a student film, well it appears that Coppola has gone back to the stereotypical film school; dark and moody tales that are really quite amateur when this is a filmmaker who can clearly delve deeper into the human psyche.