NIGHT AND THE CITY is a brash, vibrant homage to a New York City that no longer exists. Irwin Winkler's second movie as a director is a remake of a 1950 film noir that was set against the backdrop of London's wrestling scene. Though the setting has been changed to '90s New York and the
sport to boxing, the film still feels as though it's rooted in the '50s--a time when boxers had the glamour we now associate with pop stars, and when fighters, writers and shady promoters would rub shoulders in Greenwich Village bars. Though this oddly retro feel makes for some
credibility-straining moments, NIGHT AND THE CITY is still a fun ride, propelled by an engagingly over-the-top performance from Robert De Niro.
As Harry Fabian, a good-hearted lawyer with the integrity of a three-dollar bill, De Niro cajoles, rants and charms his way through the movie as though his life depended on it. He's helped out by Jessica Lange as Helen, a waitress who is also Harry's occasional lover (the exact status of the
relationship is one of the movie's more puzzling elements), and Jack Warden as Al Grossman, a former boxing legend who teams up with Harry in his bid to make it as a promoter. The bad guys are Al's brother, the mob-connected "Boom Boom" Grossman (Alan King), and Helen's husband and employer Phil
(Cliff Gorman), who gets understandably upset when he discovers his wife is lending Harry something more than moral support.
What NIGHT AND THE CITY lacks in realism and subtlety, it makes up for in energy and vitality, with a brash soundtrack helping maintain the pace. Like Harry Fabian, it desperately wants to be loved, and it pulls no punches in trying to make sure that happens.
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: NIGHT AND THE CITY is a brash, vibrant homage to a New York City that no longer exists. Irwin Winkler's second movie as a director is a remake of a 1950 film noir that was set against the backdrop of London's wrestling scene. Though the setting has been ch… (more)