City by the Sea

Starring: Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand, James Franco, Eliza Dushku and William Forsythe
Warner Home Video
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 18
Available now

Joey LaMarca, son of the respected Police Lieutenant Vincent LaMarca, kills a dealer in a drug-induced state. Vincent tries to be the father he has thus far neglected to be, by investigating the incident, bringing in his son and cleaning him up. However, an associate of the dealer wants the money he thinks Joey has stolen. When the lieutenant's partner is killed by the man whilst looking for Joey, everyone thinks the cop's son is responsible. This appears to be substantiated by the discovery of a gun with Joey's prints on it. Suddenly, nobody is listening to Vincent, and the media begins to dishonour his name...

Robert DeNiro has never particularly been my cup of tea. Here, he's not too bad. That's pretty gracious of me, don't you think? It's refreshing to see the man playing an honest and genuine law enforcement officer, without any of that steroid-waving, macho one-man-band exaggeration so prevalent to these kind of stories. All of the violence comes from other people, and that works fine. It's also unusual to have the woman in the broken marriage being portrayed as the guilty party, rather than the standard aggressive, drunken or workaholic husband.

Having said all that, this film still principally concerns drugs and shootings, and we've seen far too much of that already. I can't imagine many people - even avid fans of DeNiro - buying this video for repeated viewings, but it is just interesting enough to be worth seeing once. Rent, don't buy.

Ty Power

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