The Birthday Cake is a 2021 crime film co-written, composed, and directed by Jimmy Giannopoulos (18 & Over and Beautiful). It was written/produced by lead actor Shiloh Fernandez (Queen of Carthage, Jericho, Jett, and Skateland) and Diomedes Raul Bermudez (18 & Over and Tomorrow, Today). It was produced by Damiano Tucci (River Runs Red, LBJ, The Last Heist, The Asian Connection, The Demented, The Hurricane Heist, and Shark Lake) and 31 others.
Giovanni “Gio”(played by: Shiloh Fernandez from Evil Dead, The East, Red Riding Hood, Red, and Deadgirl), who is reluctantly continuing his family tradition of bringing a cake made by his mother Sofia (played by: Lorraine Bracco from Goodfellas, The Sopranos, Getting Gotti, The Dream Team, and Radio Flyer) to his Uncle Angelo’s (played by: Val Kilmer from Top Gun, Tombstone, The Doors, Willow, True Romance, and Heat) house who happens to be Brooklyn’s last Mafia boss to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his father’s passing.
He has several interesting interactions with neighborhood people plus his connected family throughout the night which includes Father Kelly (played by: Ewan McGregor from Birds of Prey and Doctor Sleep), Uncle Ricardo (played by: William Fichtner from Heat and Prison Break), Tommaso (played by: Jeremy Allen White from Shameless and Rob the Mob), Leo (played by: Emory Cohen from Lords of Chaos and Killerman), Vito (played by: Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos, Gotti, Witness to the Mob, Carlito’s Way, and State of Grace), Cousin Joey (played by: John Magaro from Overlord and First Cow), Uncle Tiny Tony (played by: Nick Vallelonga from Green Book, Deadfall, and The Godfather), Omar (played by: Franky G from Saw II, Dead Man Down, and Power), Jochee (played by: Luis Guzmán from Carlito’s Way 1/2, Black Rain, The Cowboy Way, and OZ), Uncle Sal (played by: Anthony Mangano from Green Book, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Point Break, and The Family), Uncle Luca (played by: Frank Vallelonga from The Sopranos and Green Book), Bootsy (played by: Joseph D’Onofrio from Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale, Analyze That, and Jungle Fever), Eagle (played by: Aldis Hodge from The Invisible Man, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Straight Outta Compton), Agent Pete (played by: Jake Weary from Animal Kingdom and It Chapter Two), and Uncle Carmine (played by: Paul Sorvino from Goodfellas, The Firm, Nixon, The Stuff, Dick Tracy, and Kill the Irishman). It’s not long after, he accidentally witnesses a murder along the way that will force him to learn the truth behind his father’s death and change his life forever!!!!
The Birthday Cake is loaded with so much talent and familiar faces. It’s a shame that more people don’t make mob, gangster, and mafia features anymore. It’s one of my favorite sub-genres and I have a huge collection when it comes to those movies. This one has a script that keeps you on your toes. It features all kinds of suspense and twists before it’s done. It’s much better than expected, it’s stacked when it comes to the cast but it’s still a low budget production but they used their money wisely here. It looks bigger than what it is. Shiloh Fernandez gives a high quality performance as the lead here. He’s the one that carries this crime flick. William Fichtner is great as the main villain here, he plays the dirty cop that been associated with their family since they got power. It’s unfortunate what acting legend Val Kilmer has gone through the last few years with his battle with throat cancer. His voice has completely changed and it’s harder for him to speak now. I thought he was really good here as the center of attention and the boss of everyone.
I just think they should have gave him a little less dialogue in The Birthday Cake. He had lots of lines here and his condition makes it hard to understand him at times. One of the best things about this independent mob film was the talented supporting cast that included Lorraine Bracco, Ewan McGregor, Joseph D’Onofrio, Vincent Pastore, Luis Guzmán, Paul Sorvino, John Magaro, Emory Cohen, Jeremy Allen White, Franky G, Nick Vallelonga, Aldis Hodge, Jake Weary, and David Mazouz (Gotham). I personally think that they should have named this something else because it basically ruins one of the big twists in the movie. You see it coming a mile a way. There’s other stuff that will catch you off guard but that was the main one here. This is one of better features of the years and definitely the sleeper so far because no one is really talking about it. RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Screen Media! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer looks way vetter than expected and it really captures New York. It has two audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 on the disc. It’s solid but it’s not the type of feature that’s going to blow up your speakers or sound system. This one is more dialogue driven but everything sounds crystal clear here and the music has a nice boost to it. It has English SDH subtitles. There’s no extras on this home video release besides “Trailers”. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!