Film Review – The Birthday Cake (2021)

Somewhat familiar gangster saga with a good dose of ‘Goodfellas‘, continuously intriguing, whilst almost entirely elongated over one night in the life of uncertainty for man about town, Giovanni (Shiloh Fernandez).

Avoiding the mob violence that took his father a decade earlier, Gio remains part of a huge Italian underbelly contingent and is tasked to deliver a home-baked birthday cake to a large gathering of uncles and associates.

Trouble looms everywhere in the neighbourhood for the family resonating a long history with authorities, especially the corrupt.

Devout to his adoring mother Sofia (Lorraine Bracco) whom makes the sweet treat annually in honour of her late husband, Gio sets off all dressed up with cake in hand with a few scheduled and eventually unscheduled stops, along the way. Prepare for anything.

What follows is multi-character development with an array of brilliant talent slotting into significant extended cameos. Ewan McGregor as a protective priest, Aldis Hodge as undercover FBI, Penn Badgley as a personable doorman, Luiz Guzman as a marriage counselling cab driver and the great, risk-taking Val Kilmer as respected Mafia Don survivor of a drive by shooting.

Also of note, an infuriating abusive cop played with evil glee by William Fichtner, whilst quintessential Paul Sorvino and luminous daughter of Ewan (Clara McGregor) appear briefly.

If you think all crime underworld stories have been told, think again, The Birthday Cake, keeps certain tropes with additional brutal trajectory and an impactful revelation not soon forgotten.


Crime, Thriller | USA, 2021 | 15 | 16th July 2021 (UK) | Cinema, Digital HD | Signature Entertainment | Dir. Jimmy Giannopoulos | Shiloh Fernandez, Val Kilmer, Ewan McGregor, Penn Badgley, Aldis Hodge, Lorraine Bracco

You can follow Shane A.Bassett over at Twitter here.