Night Falls On Manhattan

Yes, director Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Prince of the City) has made another movie about police corruption in New York City. It stars Andy Garcia as a naive young district attorney who, virtually overnight, becomes the head Manhattan DA. His rise to prominence begins when a drug kingpin shoots a bunch of cops, including Garcia’s police-veteran father (Ian Holm), who barely escapes with his life. Garcia is chosen to prosecute the case, even though his father is the key witness. From its opening plot twist, Night Falls on Manhattan seems to be unfolding less in the gritty world of New York law enforcement than in the implausible tabloid imagination of Robert Daley, on whose pulp novel the film is based. Ultimately, the case leads back to another drug dealer, whose book is filled with the names of dirty cops. Even Garcia may not want to know where that book leads. Night Falls on Manhattan makes you nostalgic for Lumet’s truly first-rate corruption movies, like the great, underrated Q&A (1990). This film shares their atmosphere — the ethnic, often Catholic law enforcers squirming with guilt, the bureaucrats yelling passionate obscenities under fluorescent lights — but not their intelligence. B-

Night Falls On Manhattan
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