Few film-makers have dealt with American police corruption as effectively as Lumet; but while this tough, fundamentally sound New York thriller has its moments, it's no Prince of the City. Ambitious, idealistic assistant DA Reilly (Hutton) investigates a homicide case in which Lt Mike Brennan (Nolte), one of the NYPD's finest, shot a Hispanic dope dealer. The focus shifts towards racial tension as the Irish fall prey to old animosities against blacks and Hispanics, including crime baron Texador (Assante). Despite a redundant romantic subplot, much of the film is tightly written and directed, embellishing its conflicts with a wealth of telling detail; but it does remain earnest and faintly predictable. Although the performances are mostly solid (Assante particularly fine throughout), it never quite achieves the harsh, convincing tone it aims for.
Q & A
Cast and crew