30 March 2011 | bob-790-196018
Solid Crime Thriller with Plenty of Atmosphere and Offbeat Humor
I think the best way to approach this movie is on its own terms rather than as a remake of the 1940s film. In any case, it merely follows the general story outline of the earlier picture. What makes it altogether new is Richard Price's screenplay, Barbet Schroeder's direction, a great lineup of actors, and location shooting in some of New York City's seediest and most squalid areas.
Along with the great locations, what really provides the atmosphere is Price's writing. Once again he shows his down to the ground knowledge of the characters, mannerisms, and lingo of the creeps and hoodlums in the big city underworld, and the law enforcement people who deal with them. And there is also Price's trademark offbeat humor.
While the earlier film gave us Richard Widmark as a really scary psycho, in this later film Richard Price has given us Little Junior Brown, a bulked-up killer with a child's mind and an abiding faith in the nostrums of New Age philosophy.
What a delight when Little Junior, fresh from committing murder, asks our hero to take the next day off so they can get together and "talk about life and stuff"! Or when he urges him to settle on an acronym that will give shape to his identity. (Little Junior's is B-A-D--for "Balls, Attitude, Direction.")
Nicholas Cage is often accused of playing over the top, but in the case of Little Junior, over the top is the way to go.
There are also good performances by Stanley Tucci and Samuel L. Jackson. Tucci excels in portraying charming snakes. When he leers and sneers, it is impossible to keep from watching him.
This movie was really very enjoyable.