January 20, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

Federal Hill

Current Status
In Season
Jason Andrews, Anthony DeSando, Nicholas Turturro
Michael Corrente
Drama, Mystery and Thriller
We gave it an A-

By now, homages to Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets are practically a genre with the independent-film movement, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing Michael Corrente’s powerfully engrossing first feature, which may be the greatest rip-off of Mean Streets ever made (and yes, that is meant as high praise). Corrente artfully sketches the members of a twentysomething Italian-American rat pack — the sons of mob lackeys in Providence, R.I. The Keitel and De Niro characters in Mean Streets become Nicky (Anthony De Salndo), a suavely handsome drug dealer who dreams of a life beyond Providence draw him into a love affair with a Brown University coed (Libby Langdon), and Ralph (NYPD Blue‘s Nicholas Turturro), a hotheaded master thief who — in Corrente’s most inspired stroke — is both the craziest and most intelligent character in the movie. At first, the air of jostling Italian machismo seems overtly familiar, but there’s a devastating vision at work here: In Federal Hill, even the most casual looking and loving encounters — between father and sons, buddies around a poker table, Nicky and his collegiate madonna — are rooted in the clandestine threat of terror. A-

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