[Screen It]


(1997) (Andy Garcia, Richard Dreyfuss) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Mild Heavy Minor Heavy
Moderate None None None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama: The newly elected District Attorney of Manhattan finds corruption in the police department.
Sean Casey (ANDY GARCIA) is a struggling Manhattan attorney who finds himself in the limelight when his father, Liam (IAN HOLM), a career cop, is shot down in the line of duty by drug dealer Jordan Washington (SHIEK MAHMUD-BEY). District Attorney Morgenstern (RON LEIBMAN) thinks it would be a good idea for Sean to try the case. He does, and battles with defense attorney Sam Vigoda (RICHARD DREYFUSS) who's representing the defendant only to go after bigger fish -- in this case, corrupt police officers who are taking kick backs from Washington. Sean wins the case and is elected as the new D.A. after Morgan has a heart attack. He soon finds, however, that Vigoda was right and discovers corruption running deep in the department which includes his father's partner, Joey Allegretto (JAMES GANDOLFINI). As Sean deals with his marriage-shy girlfriend, Peggy Lindstrom (LENA OLIN), who works for Vigoda, he must contend with the fact that his father might be involved with the corruption and then finds himself drawn into it himself.
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it's highly unlikely.
For violence and language.
  • ANDY GARCIA plays the newly elected D.A. who must deal with the corruption he finds in the police department, and commits one act himself.
  • IAN HOLM plays a career cop, and Sean's father, who breaks the law while trying to catch Washington.
  • RICHARD DREYFUSS plays an attorney who defends a killer in order to expose the corruption in the police department.
  • SHIEK MAHMUD-BEY plays the drug dealer and self-confessed cop killer.


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    This is somewhat of a disappointing movie considering the director and cast. We were hoping that director Sidney Lumet would return to his days of former glory, when he helmed movies such as "Serpico," "Network," and "Dog Day Afternoon," the latter of which he received Oscar nominations for. While he hasn't recently made an "event" movie, it looked like this might be the one. It fails, however, because of a lackluster plot that shows very little incentive and offers no surprises or fun. While it does move the story along -- albeit very slowly -- it's rather mundane and delivers nothing we haven't seen before. A story about police corruption needs some spark, but that's sorely missing in this production. In addition, the near void of any dramatic music doesn't help this film avoid the trappings of boredom. The performers fare better than the plot, but it's the secondary characters that steal the limelight. Ron Leibman, as Garcia's D.A. predecessor, roars across the screen whenever present, casting the normally explosive Garcia into some awfully dark shadows. Now that's part of the way Garcia's character is written, but it's a shame to see this flavorful, charismatic actor playing in what is for the most part an understated role. Dreyfuss also falls into that category and doesn't have a great deal of screen time beyond the trial that occurs early in the plot. While there are a few clever moments in the production, such as when Vigoda uses the press as his witness to show that his client is surrendering to the police without bruises (in case they beat him up), these scenes are few and far in between. With a more exciting, or at least more interesting script, this would have been a much better movie. While there's nothing really bad about the film, the weak plot undermines the decent performances and thus creates a rather ho-hum production. As it is, we give it just a 5 out of 10.
    Extreme profanity and several murders are the worst of the major objectionable material. 30+ "f" words are heard (most occurring early in the film) along with a moderate amount of lesser objectionable words. Three police officers are killed (2 by the drug dealer and 1 accidentally), and another is injured by machine gun fire. Another officer commits suicide (via a gun in his mouth), but we only hear the shot. Several police officers are found to be on the take from a drug dealer, and you may want to discuss this and the general topic of corruption with your children. Beyond Sean being slightly drunk in one scene and sleeping with his adult girlfriend (occurring off camera), there's not a great deal else to object to. Still, we suggest that you read through the content listings in case you and/or any of your children wish to see this film.

  • The story involves a drug dealer, but no drug use or transaction is seen other than that described in the next listing.
  • Joey offers their "mole" informant a small bag of cocaine (but no use is seen).
  • People drink in a bar after Sean's court victory, and later Sean appears to be somewhat drunk.
  • Vigoda mentions that his teenage daughter overdosed some time ago.
  • Sean, Liam, and Joey drink wine with dinner and a beer bottle is seen on the table.
  • Joey quickly drinks some sort of liquor while sitting in his parked car.
  • Liam is rather bloody, as is the floor beneath him, after he's been shot.
  • A full body bag in put into a mortuary van.
  • Obviously Washington has both as he's a drug dealer and self-confessed cop killer.
  • All of the cops who are/were on the take from drug dealers also have both.
  • Many of the characters are corrupt or are corrupted as the story progresses (Don't read the following if you care about important plot points: Liam forged a search warrant, Sean destroys that piece of evidence, and a judge recreates the warrant to cover both of them).
  • Liam and Joey enter a rundown apartment building with their guns drawn, looking for Washington. After Liam is shot, Washington is on the run and shoots two more officers.
  • Machine gun/Handgun: Used by Washington to shoot Liam and two other cops.
  • Handguns: Used by the police to accidentally shoot a fellow officer.
  • Handgun: Used by a corrupt cop to commit suicide (we only hear the gunshot).
  • Phrases: "Piss," "Pissing," "Bastard," "Scumbag," "Balls" (testicles), and "D*ckhead."
  • We hear Liam urinating on the side of the street while on a stake-out.
  • Liam throws his Styrofoam cup out the car window (littering).
  • Washington dons a police uniform and steals a police car as he makes his escape from the crime scene.
  • A corrupt cop commits suicide by putting a gun into his mouth and pulling the trigger (we only hear the gunshot).
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • 37 "f" words (3 with the prefix "mother"), 13 "s" words, 5 slang terms for penis (the "p" and "d" words), 8 "ass" words (1 used with "hole"), 6 S.O.B.'s, 6 hells, 3 damns, 2 craps, and 11 uses of "God damn" and 1 use each of "Oh my God," "God," "Oh God," "My God" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • The D.A. tells his assistants that if any cop needs a warrant to capture Washington, they should go to the judge's house and "pull him off his wife or whoever else he's on top of."
  • Vicki tells a drunken Sean about taking him home, "I don't know if you can make it erect." Sensing her double entendre, Sean replies, "I think I can."
  • Vicki and Sean are seen in bed together implying that they had sex, although nothing is seen.
  • None.
  • Sean visits his father, who's just been shot, in a hospital's intensive care unit.
  • Vigoda mentions that his teenage daughter overdosed some time ago.
  • Sean must deal with the fact that his father might also be one of the cops on the take.
  • Corruption in this case, cops have been paid to keep quiet about drug dealers and their business.
  • Sean's D.A. predecessor has a heart attack (but lives).
  • Sean slaps his junkie defendant after the man curses at him.
  • Liam fires his gun into an apartment door as he and Joey try to apprehend Washington. The drug dealer then fires a machine gun back through the door, hitting Liam.
  • As the police arrive, they hear a sound they mistake for a gunshot and fire their guns at a person they've spotted on the roof. It turns out to be a fellow cop who falls to the ground dead.
  • Washington shoots two more police officers, killing one and injuring the other. He then shoots the wounded man in the head, killing him.
  • As Washington surrenders to the police, they violently go after him, breaking a car window, and then punch him and drag him from the vehicle.
  • Washington knocks over the witness stand, races across the courtroom, and attacks Sean until the guards remove him.
  • A corrupt cop commits suicide by putting a gun into his mouth and pulling the trigger (we only hear the gunshot).

  • Reviewed May 14, 1997

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