Monday, May 9, 2011

Prince of the City

Sidney Lumet was a great director. He managed to churn out excellent performances from his actors (Paul Newman in The Verdict, Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon). Perhaps it was because Lumet himself was an actor knew how an actor's mind works.

In the case of Prince of the City, Lumet got a phenomenal performance out of Treat Williams, who plays narcotics detective Danny Ciello. We witness him falling to pieces before our eyes, watching him trying to figure out what's right in the world he lives in.

Lumet had previously covered police corruption eight years earlier with Serpico. (Interestingly enough, Al Pacino, the star of Serpico, was offered to be in Prince of the City.) Apparently Lumet made Prince of the City to get a more accurate depiction of the New York Police Department than what was shown in Serpico. And by my money I think he nailed it.

Lumet knew how to show the anatomy of a crime in his movies, as shown in 12 Angry Men and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Prince of the City may not get among the ranks of Network or 12 Angry Men, but it's an excellent movie, even if it's nearly three hours long (which, by the way, is my only complaint).

My Rating: ****1/2

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