(On TV, November 2018) Yes, trivia fans, it is true: Robert de Niro once directed a movie. Not only that, but he directed A Bronx Tale, written by fellow actor Chazz Palminteri and based on Palminteri true-life childhood stories. Surprising no one, it’s about growing up in the Bronx during the 1960s, and having to deal with the neighbourhood gangsters. De Niro himself has a secondary role as the bus-driving father of the young protagonist while Palminteri plays the local mobster. The movie quickly sets up a dynamic in which the hero has to choose a father figure between two men, one of them law-abiding and dull, while the other definitely isn’t. It’s a story with gangsters rather than a gangster story: the point is to show the realities of growing up in that neighbourhood and being tempted by The Life. As a period piece, it’s nicely done and somewhat successful: the nostalgia is effective without being overpowering, while the music sets a tone that the film follows. A Bronx Tale is likable, perhaps not a classic but a worthwhile companion piece to many other all-out gangster films.