Night Falls On Manhattan

Veteran director and inveterate New Yorker Sidney Lumet returns to the topic he tackled in SERPICO, PRINCE OF THE CITY and Q&A: The complicated and frequently dirty ties that bind together New York City cops, lawyers, criminals (especially drug dealers) and politicians. This time, the lone just man caught in a web is Sean Casey (Andy Garcia), a one-time...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Veteran director and inveterate New Yorker Sidney Lumet returns to the topic he tackled in SERPICO, PRINCE OF THE CITY and Q&A: The complicated and frequently dirty ties that bind together New York City cops, lawyers, criminals (especially drug dealers) and politicians. This time, the lone just man caught in a web is Sean Casey (Andy Garcia), a one-time cop from Queens who's just joined the District Attorney's office as an assistant. Casey's dad Liam (Ian Holm) -- a 37-year veteran of the force -- is nearly killed in a world-class snafu involving three police precincts and vicious drug dealer Jordan Washington (Sheik Mahmud-Bey). Three cops die, and Casey's conniving boss (Ron Liebman) -- a leathery political survivor -- devises a grandstanding ploy to keep the DA's Office in the media spotlight: When Washington is arrested, young Casey will prosecute. And that's only the beginning: In the space of two hours, Casey is elected Manhattan District Attorney; falls in love with an associate (Lena Olin) of notorious legal gadfly Sam Vigoda ( Richard Dreyfuss), Washington's defender; and gets involved in an Internal Affairs investigation of police corruption that may implicate his father. Casey's dark night of the soul is the movie's heart, but getting there takes forever and still feels awkwardly truncated. Casey's preposterous rise to power has the rushed, breathless air of the plot device it is: It's all about maneuvering him into a place of power, so he can feel the moral squeeze of conflicting loyalties, political debts, corrupt alliances and personal principles. You can't help but wish the set up were shorter and the dilemma longer: Almost as soon as Casey realizes the corner he's painted into, it's all over.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Veteran director and inveterate New Yorker Sidney Lumet returns to the topic he tackled in SERPICO, PRINCE OF THE CITY and Q&A: The complicated and frequently dirty ties that bind together New York City cops, lawyers, criminals (especially drug dealers) an… (more)

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