Night Falls On Manhattan Review

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Commitment to the law is challenged in a crisis of morality in this courtroom drama.


It's good to know that the widely liked but underused Andy Garcia has here a juicy dramatic role he can get his chops into. It's even better to see that writer/director Sidney Lumet in his 40th film, having lost the plot recently, has made a return to something like form. Lumet has made a speciality of men whose commitment to the law is challenged in a crisis of morality. This time out he delves into similar territory as City Hall but his film is the stronger of the two.

Intelligent and reasonably compelling, this is solid fare, driven by the charismatic Garcia and bolstered by savvy support throughout which includes Dreyfuss, grandstanding as Casey's chief courtroom adversary, a brilliant criminal attorney and rights advocate, and Olin, regrettably underwritten as Casey's liberal attorney girlfriend.

In particular Lumet has written a peach of a role for Ron Liebman as Casey's wily, combustible DA mentor. And if, ultimately, this is too optimistic a work to be firmly believable, at least Lumet's providing something to chew on, proving that at 73 he ain't past it yet.

The most recent of Sidney Lumetís police corruption capers (following <b>Serpico, Prince And The City</b> and <b>Q&A</b>), <b>Night Falls on Manhattan</b> sees Andy Garcia as an unlikely Irish idealist who goes from trainee lawyer to district attorney, vo