The January Man

The flair of screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck) for old-fashioned, Hollywood-style characters and dialogue is put to the test in this enjoyable but ludicrous Manhattan cop thriller about tracking down a serial murderer. The situations are consistently cliche-ridden and outlandish, but somehow the stylish writing keeps things spinning. Kevin Kline is the antiestablishment former detective who's reinstated to solve the case; Harvey Keitel is his establishment brother; Susan Sarandon plays Keitel's wife and Kline's former lover; Rod Steiger is the mayor; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is the mayor's daughter; and Danny Aiello plays the police captain. Pat O'Connor's direction doesn't exactly minimize the cartoonish aspects of the plot and characters (Steiger, busting his gasket as usual, does a fair takeoff of Edward Koch), but keeps us amused as long as we don't think too much about what we're watching; Norman Jewison produced.

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