Men of Respect (1990)

Rating: D

Dir: William Reilly
Star: John Turturro, Dennis Farina, Peter Boyle

The basic premise is Macbeth redone as a Mafia movie, with Turturro as the up-and-coming hood who is talked into offing his Don (Rod Steiger) by an ambitious wife. The basic problem is, it falls between two stools. It tries to remain utterly faithful to the plot, shoehorning it into an alien environment and era, while discarding the dialogue which is Shakespeare’s greatest strength, and not bringing anything much to the table as recompense.

There’s nothing wrong with taking classic stories and bringing them up-to-date; however, they should be used as a springboard from which to leap. Reilly simply wants to fit his movie to the play, with apparent scant interest in developing any of the themes. Turturro never succeeds in giving any insights into what would cause a man to go to such extremes, and if the occasional scene still manages to affect, such as the night-time perambulations of ‘Lady Macbeth’, their power is all down to William S, rather than William R.