City Hall (1996)

This straight-forward corruption tale is wholly unremarkable, save
for a few good scenes and the occasional insight into the arena of
municipal politics.  Four writers-- including Nicholas Pileggi
(CASINO) and Paul Schrader (TAXI DRIVER)-- are credited with this
Big Apple fable of how a New York City Deputy Mayor (John Cusack)
and his boss (Al Pacino) deal the with the ever-expanding problems
caused by the accidental shooting of a young black boy in Brooklyn.

The casting of Pacino is dead-on, but John Cusack is a loss.  He's
a lightweight and doesn't belong at the center of such a serious
story.  The supporting cast-- which includes Danny Aiello and Mar-
tin Landau-- fares a little better, when the script isn't ignoring
them.  (Aiello, in particular, has a dandy confrontation with a mob
boss played by Tony Franciosa.)  Director Harold Becker (MALICE)
keeps everybody busy and that adds to the illusion of dramatic
tension, of which there is none.  Most disappointing is the missing
sense of grandeur.  For such a big town, CITY HALL sure feels
small.  (Rated "R"/~110 min.)

Grade: C

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: February 28, 1996

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