The credits imply class; but while everyone is proficient, this uneasy mix of comedy, thriller and melodrama fumbles its way through a forest of clichés and contrivances. Vito (Hoffman) is a respectable New York meat-trader who has renounced the criminal ways of his roguish dad Jesse (Connery). But in giving son Adam (Broderick) the best education money can buy, Vito has alienated himself from both, driving them into conspiratorial buddydom. When Adam plans a million-dollar scam involving the theft of plasma from a low-security lab, Jesse wants in, but Vito is co-opted only when he realises that the only way to protect his son is to be there. The heist goes awry, and a vaguely light-hearted romp enters the register Emotional. This being Lumet, issues are broached - genes and generational conflict, the relationship between morality and law, the purpose of life - but meaningful dialogues do not a good movie make: the battle lines, clear from the start, proceed with the inevitability of a computer game towards weepy reconciliation. Worse, it's hard to like or care for the characters; and since writer Vincent Patrick (adapting his own novel) stacks the odds to favour Jesse's selfish anarchy, the end result is at best morally confused, at worst devious.
Cast and crew