19 May 1999 | doubleh
Idealistic lawyer allows himself to be "turned around" by manipulative crime boss.
Being a fan of Elias Koteas, I happened along this little gem of a movie. It's one of the only times I can remember seeing him as a leading man, usually he plays off-beat quirky roles a la "Exotica" and "Crash". All in all, he is very convincing as an ambitious lawyer, who succumbs not only to money but to pride as well. The story starts off slowly but before you know it, it sucks you into it's Machiavellian plot. The film's style is naturalistic and you almost feel like you are in the same room as the characters. Danny Aiello, who usually plays blustery, larger than life characters, gives a wonderfully nuanced performance of a John Gotti type character. It would have been very easy for him to turn this stereotypcal don into a Godfather cliche, but instead, the director chose for him to play down the part. Although the production value could have been better(the music sucks and doubling Vancouver for New York was a poor choice) I feel that this intelligent courtroom drama is worth checking out.