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.
Cast and crew