In David Mamet’s sharply entertaining meditation on prejudice and belonging, Joe Mantegna plays Robert Gold, an urban Jewish police detective who’s prouder of his badge than of his background. When he investigates the possibly anti-Semitic murder of a fellow Jew, however, Gold begins to second-guess his own allegiances. Soon he finds himself on a dangerous odyssey of identity, one that may cost him his career. Homicide aims to be more revelatory than realistic (no cop would lose his gun as often as Gold does). Mamet delights in artifice; his movie is replete with theatrical fade-outs — less jarring on the small screen where viewers expect breaks — and stagy, ironic dialogue. Example: When a murderer asks if Gold would like to know the secret of evil, he snaps back, ”No, because then I’d be out of a job.” Still, Mantegna is sympathetic as a man who is willing to give all for what he believes in — if he could only figure out what exactly that is. A-

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