City by the Sea
Time Out saysAnother year, another De Niro cop flick. A murder case leads veteran detective Vincent LaMarca back to his home town, a rundown Long Island resort. But when Joey, his estranged junkie son (Franco), emerges as chief suspect, Vincent must address his dark family history. Decades earlier, his father was executed for murder. This comes as shocking news to on-off girlfriend Michelle (McDormand, wasted), and adds a tragic dimension to his pursuit of his wayward offspring. Though based on a true story, the film takes some drastic liberties with the facts. The details of Joey's crime have been radically softened, while the real Vincent was retired from the force and played little part in the manhunt. This air of phoniness permeates all aspects of the production. With pretty boy Franco flashing his painfully gaunt cheekbones, the film veers closer to heroin chic than to the genuinely harrowing territory of, say, Aronofsky's take on Hubert Selby's Requiem for a Dream.