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CITY BY THE SEA

Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand, James Franco, Eliza Dushku, William Forsythe

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Written by: Ken Hixon
Produced by: Brad Grey, Elie Samaha, Michael Caton-Jones, Matthew Baer
Distributor: Warner Brothers

US: 06/09/02 UK: 10/01/03

Distinguished New York City homicide detective investigates his own son, Joey. Father and son have been painfully estranged ever since Vincent divorced Joey's mother and left the decaying boardwalks of Long Beach, Long Island for the anonymity of Manhattan and a successful career with the NYPD. He lives his life in solitude, keeping his girlfriend at arm's length; the closest relationship he maintains is with his partner.


Dave Reviews Out Loud / Ebert & Roeper
REVIEWS
Chicago Trib/ Cincinnati Enquirer
Film Critic/ LA Times
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MEDIA BUZZ
N/A YET

Robert De Niro gives James Franco a master-class in screen acting

Based on a true story, this is an involving film with very strong performances, but given the weight of the cast we are perhaps expecting something a bit more special than this. Vincent LaMarca (DeNiro) is New York City detective who prefers to keep to himself; he even keeps his girlfriend (McDormand) at arm's length ... and she lives just downstairs! But his latest case takes a twist that's far too close to home, leading him and his partner (Dzundza) to his old hometown of Long Beach, a decaying seaside resort. The prime suspect is Vincent's junkie son (Franco), who is entangled with a drug dealer (Forsythe) and a single mother (Dushku) ... and who barely knows his father.

There's a lot more here, and it's the film's factual origins that make the story compelling ... because it's just too good to be fiction! The characters are all extremely complex and interesting people, and all are very well-played by the cast. That Franco can hold his own in his scenes with DeNiro is no mean feat, but then DeNiro is in muted, hollow-man mode (and starting to look and act rather a lot like Danny Aiello). Caton-Jones directs with a nice sense of style--dark and grainy, gritty authenticity, real life bubbling under a suppressed, difficult surface. And the intricate connections between four generations of LaMarca men is unveiled with restraint and insight. And yet, it all ultimately feels like just another cop thriller, really, right down to the requisite showdown finale and a corny conclusion.

 


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