Night and the City | Chicago Reader

Night and the City

It's symptomatic of this vastly inferior 1992 remake of Jules Dassin's 1950 film noir, transplanted from London's East End to lower Manhattan, that the title is no longer evocative of the film itself, most of which seems to take place in the daytime. Still, it's an improvement over producer Irwin Winkler's debut feature as a director, Guilty by Suspicion, if only because this time out Robert De Niro offers a somewhat more resourceful performance—as a small-time lawyer hoping to make a financial killing with a boxing match (though De Niro's not as interesting as Richard Widmark was in the original, as a nightclub entrepreneur setting up a wrestling match). The basic problem here is that everybody from Winkler to screenwriter Richard Price to the talented supporting cast (Jessica Lange, Cliff Gorman, Alan King, Jack Warden, Eli Wallach, and Barry Primus) tries too hard, grabbing us by the lapels and hollering at us, spelling everything out in neon; the use of “The Great Pretender” over the concluding credits to tell us what the movie and leading character were all about is emblematic of the way the audience is treated like a pack of dunderheads—a problem in Guilty by Suspicion as well.

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