Fresh Kills Review

There is a moment in Fresh Kills when Rose Larusso, played magnificently by Emily Bader, feels the walls are closing in on her. All of the thoughts and bad feelings about her family have come to light and she is out in the open when it happens. We feel her panic, embarrassment, and fear as she tries to deal with what to do next. This is a moment that we may have seen before in other mafia movies but this time it’s from the point of view of a child raised in this family. A person who did not choose this life and has been trapped in it from day one. Fresh Kills puts us in the shoes of not only the children of a mafia boss but also the women who are put in this lifestyle. Fresh Kills is a fresh look at the mafia world.

In Fresh Kills we are introduced to Rose and Connie Larusso, amazingly played by Odessa A’zion. The young girls are inseparable and their father is Joe Larusso, played by the charming Domenick Lombardozzi. Lombardozzi is that actor that you know from somewhere but can’t remember where. He has that charm that puts you at ease but know he can turn on you in a second. We see some of that temperament in the movie but the story is not really about him, the movie is about his daughters. Rose and Connie are aware that their father has an odd job but don’t read too much into it. Rose is the more level-headed one while Connie is the one you do not want to mess with.

Courtesy of Fresh Kills

As we watch these girls grow up we see how their lives are put in a small bubble. They only hang out with a certain group of friends and everyone knows everyone. You hardly see these girls step outside this sphere and if they do that or question their lifestyle they are met with parental guilt and deemed ungrateful for everything they have. Rose feels that there is more to her family and wants that. Her mother Francine, played by the incredible Jennifer Esposito, regals Rose with stories about how she was almost a model and how her life was so much different. It seems that Francine regrets her current life in a small way but is at the point where she can not get out of it and secretly wants more for her daughters.

Can we talk about the incredible job Jennifer Esposito has done with this movie? This has been a labor of love and you can see it in the acting, directing, and even in the music that plays throughout the movie. Esposito is a fixture in crime drama shows and movies and you can tell that she has not only been acting in them but also studying them. Her take in Fresh Kills is new and I feel there should be more films that don’t just show the women as a side character but the main character. It is also great to see how some of the kids feel that they are untouchable because of who their parents are and how that can quickly turn on them. Jennifer Esposito’s days should be filled after this movie with more projects to direct because this movie is phenomenal.

Courtesy of Fresh Kills

The journey the two Larusso sisters take is both a cautionary tale and a tale of independence. The situation the girls are put in because of their father tests them. They are put in a crossroads and have to decide which way they are going to go. While one sister has her mind set, the other one is conflicted about what to do. As a parent, we know we always want was is best for our children even if that means they have to leave us behind. Thoughout the movie, Rose, Connie, and Francine, show us the plus and minuses of living in a mafia house but it ultimately comes down to how much strength they have to leave it.

Final Thoughts: Fresh Kills is a great take on the mafia movie genre by giving us a look inside the women’s lives. While most films portray the women as side or background characters, Fresh Kills puts them in the limelight and we get a better idea of their struggle. The two leads, Bader and A’zion, give performances that are stellar! This is one mafia movie that will be talked about long after it’s run and will hopefully birth more films about the kids stuck in this lifestyle.

Kid-Friendly: Not a good movie for younger kids but older kids can gain something from the theme of family. While it is a mafia movie the themes of being there for your family and helping them out is universal, just don’t go about it the way Domenick does.

Violence: This is a mafia movie so there is a lot of violence in it. There are bloody fights, shootings, and a lot of curse words.

Fresh Kills brings late 1980s Staten Island to vivid life through the lens of Rose Larusso (Emily Bader), an inquisitive young girl who discovers her father (Domenick Lombardozzi) is an emerging mafia kingpin. Rose’s growing desire to break free from the path set before her soon threatens her existence and alienates her from her closest allies: her mother Francine (Jennifer Esposito), her sister Connie (Odessa A’zion), and her aunt Christine (Annabella Sciorra).

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