Essay on Film, A Bronx Tale

Amy Lau Expository Essay – “A Bronx Tale” Topic: “The choices that you make will shape your life forever” The film, set in New York City, in the 1960s, A Bronx Tale, Lorenzo (played by Robert De Niro) has a son, Calogero, whom we see throughout the film as one who made numerous decisions throughout his life, which shaped his future. One of those things was what Calogero did in the early stages of the film. At nine years old, he sat on the steps as he witnessed Sonny, a gangster, out of defense for a friend, shoot and kill someone seemingly competing with someone else over a parking spot.

When Calogero was requested by NYPD detectives to identify the murderer by facial recognition, he kept quiet about the truth. As a result, Sonny welcomed him into his inner group of followers and compelled everyone he knew to please Calogero. Sonny’s men also offered Lorenzo a job to make a lot more money than he already does, but Lorenzo, preferring a law-abiding life, declined the offer. Lorenzo hated Sonny’s influence on his son (“You don’t understand: It’s not what you say, it’s what he sees, the clothes, the cars, the money, it’s everything.

He tried to throw away his baseball cards because he said Mickey Mantle will never pay the rent”). When Lorenzo found out about the money that Calogero has gained from working for Sonny, he took his son’s money and returned them to Sonny at the bar and warns him to keep away from his son, which Sonny responded to Lorenzo, “I treat him like he’s my son” The turns of events that were caused by Calogero refusing to rat on Sonny in the beginning seemed to have a lasting effect. Eight years later, Calogero became close friends with Sonny and continued to regularly visit him without his father’s knowledge.

He also remained part of a gang of local Italian boys he grew up with, which Sonny advised against. He then meets Jane Williams, an African American girl and the two arranged a date despite severe tension between the Blacks and the Italians, especially amongst his friends. The friends he chose also shaped his future. One night in provoked retaliation, Calogero’s friends made a plan to strike at an earlier attack back at the African Americans using molotov cocktails. They compelled Calogero to come with them in a journey to the area of the African Americans, but along the way, Sonny intervenes and orders Calogero out of the car.

Calogero catches up with Jane and the two shared an intimate moment. The conversation then leads Calogero to remember of a planned attack in the town where the Blacks live, and he realises that Jane’s brother is in danger. He and Jane rush to stop them, and to her brother’s aid. Then we see Calogero’s friends attack a shop, owned by an African American, and set the shop on fire. Then the shopkeeper, taking the unexploded homemade bomb, which was thrown at him, threw it back at the boys’ car, igniting the rest of the explosives in it.

Calogero and Jane arrive at the ruins of the exploded car to discover that all his friends have died as a result of their attack. In mixed feelings of grief and relief, Calogero rushes back to Sonny to thank him for saving his life. Calogero knowing Sonny certainly has its goodness. Page 1/2 Then in a crowded bar upon arrival, he sees Sonny, and also someone coming up behind Sonny with a gun. A shot is fired a Sonny falls to the floor. The unnamed assassin is the son of the man killed by Sonny eight years ago. It seemed Sonny also made a decision eight years ago which shaped his life, which in turn ended in a tragedy.

When Lorenzo arrives at the end of the memorial service held for Sonny, to pay his respects to him, he says that he had never hated Sonny, but merely resented him for making Calogero grow up so quickly. In conclusion, the viewers could interpret that the fact that Calogero did not tell the NYPD detectives that Sonny was the murderer definitely has its benefits, like the fact that it has protected him from a possible retaliation that would have resulted from Sonny’s men had he chose to reveal Sonny to detectives as the murderer.

And because of this, he won over friends in Sonny and his inner circle of followers, and has remained close throughout. Also, Calogero seemed positively influenced by Sonny as a result of their friendship. He says in the end: “I learned to give love and get love unconditionally. You just have to accept people for what they are. And I learned the greatest gift of all: the saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The choices that you make will shape your life forever. You can ask anybody from my neighborhood, and they’ll just tell you, this is just another Bronx tale”. Page 2/2

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