A reformed convict goes undercover with the help of an angry detective to ensnare a psychotic mobster.A reformed convict goes undercover with the help of an angry detective to ensnare a psychotic mobster.A reformed convict goes undercover with the help of an angry detective to ensnare a psychotic mobster.
The casting here is absolutely phenomenal. The performances by all the lead actors are some of their best: Nicholas Cage, Stanley Tucci, David Caruso and Michael Rappaport all bring serious color to the story. It is clear here that the careful casting makes a big difference. I'd like to say one performance in particular stands out (maybe Nicholas Cage, in one of his best roles ever) but everyone pulls their weight. Michael Rappaport, despite staying in his typical character role, manages to play the most loathsome character in the film! Even the villains have more humanity to them than he does...
The story is good too. It's not original, but very well done. Many classic crime twists are provided in ways one doesn't expect and there are some plot points that are only alluded to, not blatantly shown (i.e. the reason certain characters get knocked off, etc.). It also gives us a good rundown on the inside of a corrupt court system which only protects ex-cons if there's a profit to be made.
And to top it off, despite the criminal element and violence, there is a cool sense of humor to several scenes. Little Junior's (Nicholas Cage) mourning scene stands out as a highlight. And then the way the movie ends, you'd think you were watching Beethoven or something. Hee hee, and Stanley Tucci was in that one too!
It's not some critically acclaimed showboating from the '90s, like American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, and so on, but it is a solid little '90s period piece.
- Jul 7, 2008