Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Prince of the City (1981) Review:

Everybody has something to hide. We all have secrets we don't want anyone to know about. Its personal information that is only given out to the most trusted of people - mainly close family and friends. But there's a difference when that secret crosses the line on ethics and morals. When it comes to this, people lie, and lying is never a good thing. The act of lying will always catch up somewhere and somehow. Everyone has a conscious, it's the device that let's the person know what they're doing wrong. And if the individual cannot justify to themselves why the secret they're keeping is for the right reason, their conscious will eat them alive. Almost like a self-destruct button. Some can repress this feeling while many others crack under pressure.

Danny Ciello (Treat Williams)
This reflects on the story of Danny Ciello (Treat Williams), a New York cop who joined the force to make a difference and be a good person for society. However, it's not until he’s is asked by a commission of investigators to spy on the system that he works at for possible corruption. Originally, Ciello is skeptical about the matter because he doesn't want to stab his fellow cops in the back, but he is convinced otherwise. And to his dismay, the longer he stayed in the business, the scarier the information became. Thus leading to an investigation brought onto himself.

This kind of plot is very serious in nature because of how it focuses on morals and how people with even the kindest of hearts can fall. This is also the kind of drama that audiences should have the patience to sit through. The running time is almost three hours long because it carefully follows the path of the human struggle between knowing what is the right and wrong thing to do when it comes to telling the truth. The length may annoy some but the story should be powerful enough to keep people focused. And the writing not only covers the story of one man, but several people involved with the lies and how they deal with the stress they induce on themselves. Family life is also included although by the finale the closure isn't as strong as the rest. That also may upset some.

The cast is very large in this movie. Treat Williams as the main character gives a memorable performance as the troubled cop. His reactions to many situations closely resemble to how anyone would react if they were in his shoes. It’s a very human performance. Even a very young Lance Henriksen has a number of his own scenes. There's also a character named Gus Levy played by Jerry Obach, he would later voice Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast (1991) ten years later. Cool. Although the rating is R, it's more for language and a few beatings nothing gruesome or over the top.

Starting to be investigated
The music composed by Paul Chihara is unique too. It’s certainly one the most absent of scores I’ve ever heard but it also helps make the story feel more realistic. This is one of the few times where the music doesn't need to be present to give emotion because the actors themselves give a lot as it is already. There is also a main theme, which is carried out by a saxophone that is good. But the one thing I liked most about this movie was how audience should feel at the end credits. In a court trial, no matter if one walks away guilty or innocent, the past will always be there to haunt them. People will always remember the bad and never your good deeds. And from that day on, the individual must constantly fight to uphold the respect they lost. That's the human struggle and it can be so terrifying. It's a movie that should been seen and understood at least once.

The acting led by Treat Williams is very good. Its running time may be lengthy but its story richly consists of powerful emotions and life lessons that demand to be seen just for that.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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