Dealing with drugs, cops and corruption, this is Serpico all over again, but revised, enlarged and immeasurably improved. All moral certainties have gone, leaving instead a can of worms where questions of friendship, loyalty and honesty are redefined in the ambiguous light of corruption as a NY police officer (Williams), inspired by an indefinable mixture of reformist zeal, guilty self-loathing, and sheer delight in the opportunity for headline exploits, turns informer on behalf of the DA's commission of enquiry. An astonishing in-depth portrait of the interlocking worlds of police and hoodlum results, with no punches pulled and no easy solutions. Lumet isn't noted as the most cinematic of directors; but here the intricate mosaic structure he developed in Dog Day Afternoon generates a dynamism entirely its own, with the invisible mise en scène guaranteed by the galvanising interplay of New York locations and a brilliant ensemble cast.
Cast and crew
Jay Presson Allen, Sidney Lumet
Treat Williams Jerry Orbach Richard Foronjy Don Billett Kenny Marino Carmine Caridi Tony Page Lindsay Crouse Bob Balaban James Tolkan