Phoenix

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Drama, Thriller

Considering the way this formulaic neo-noir thriller is being hustled in and out of theaters, you'd think someone had something to hide. Too bad: It's no L.A. CONFIDENTIAL -- the obvious inspiration -- but this tough little movie about rogue cops on the loose in Phoenix is well-acted, suitably sleazy and surprisingly literate. Harry (Ray Liotta) is an unlucky...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Considering the way this formulaic neo-noir thriller is being hustled in and out of theaters, you'd think someone had something to hide. Too bad: It's no L.A. CONFIDENTIAL -- the obvious inspiration -- but this tough little movie about rogue cops on the loose in

Phoenix is well-acted, suitably sleazy and surprisingly literate. Harry (Ray Liotta) is an unlucky Phoenix police detective who can't make it through the day without placing at least one bet. It's a bad habit that's gotten him into a $32,000 heap of trouble with his lisping bookie, a tall drink of

dirty water named Chicago (Tom Noonan). Louie's trigger-happy pal Mike (Anthony LaPaglia) would be more than happy to pop Chicago to help out a fellow cop, but Harry lives by a strict gambler's code of honor: Never welsh on a bet. Instead, Harry hits on a far dumber plan: Rip off sleazy Louie

(Giancarlo Esposito), a dangerous loan shark who operates out of a strip club on the seedy side of town. No one needs another "film noir updated for the '90s," but aside from the opening sequence -- a rather pointless visual quote from DOUBLE INDEMNITY -- British director Danny Cannon

(JUDGE DREDD) keeps things fairly low-key and unpretentious. There are a few glitches: It would have been nice if the city of Phoenix served some higher purpose than generic urban backdrop, and the romantic subplot involving Anjelica Huston as the dame who could turn Harry's life around never

amounts to much. Eddie Richey's script could also have used a little tightening, but it's darkly humorous and manages to riff on both KING KONG and Dostoyevsky, and Liotta and his strong supporting cast -- including Daniel Baldwin and Jeremy Piven as Harry's partners in crime -- will keep you

watching till the bitter and very bloody end.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Considering the way this formulaic neo-noir thriller is being hustled in and out of theaters, you'd think someone had something to hide. Too bad: It's no L.A. CONFIDENTIAL -- the obvious inspiration -- but this tough little movie about rogue cops on the lo… (more)

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