And yes, he's the hero of this offbeat crime thriller set in New York City's heavily Russian Brooklyn neighborhood, Brighton Beach. New York State tax investigator Al Benjamin (Joe Pantoliano) is investigating a tax scam involving a chain of Brooklyn gas
stations. But Benjamin suspects there's more to the matter than meets the eye; he believes the fraud goes way beyond some sales tax skimming to the violent Russian Mafia. Although the police are generally hostile, he finds an ally in Latin American cop Joseph Romero (Wade Dominguez), a mild-mannered departmental outcast who happens to be fluent in Russian. Together they establish a relationship with informer Andre Rubakov (Michael Chiklis), a low-level crook whose greatest weaknesses are his love of his family especially his beautiful daughter Nadia (Elizabeth Berkley) and the good life. Benjamin and Romero use Rubakov to get closer to uncovering the elusive outlaw Benjamin believes is behind a string of brutal thefts and murders, but at the cost of putting Rubakov's family in grave danger. The outlines of this story are familiar; the Russian tough guys, the undercover investigators who get too close to the criminal underworld, the betrayals and crises of conscience. But the details are fresh and more interesting than you might think who knew that investigating tax fraud could seem so exciting? Co-scripted by a real-life tax investigator and featuring some striking performances the much-maligned Elizabeth Berkley is thoroughly credible as Nadia — this modest little moral thriller is a pleasant surprise.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: And yes, he's the hero of this offbeat crime thriller set in New York City's heavily Russian Brooklyn neighborhood, Brighton Beach. New York State tax investigator Al Benjamin (Joe Pantoliano) is investigating a tax scam involving a chain of Brooklyn gas… (more)