peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 02 20 PrinceOfTheCity

Prince of the City (1981)

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Sidney Lumet completism. It's a bit like a sophistication of his earlier Serpico — one breaking-good NYC cop against the rest — but more like Once Upon a Time in America in that the band of brothers comes undone at great length. I found it a bit airless, perhaps because Treat Williams is no Al Pacino or James Wood or Robert De Niro, and his histrionics are often a bit too much. Or perhaps it was the endless hand wringing of the lawyers (Lance Henriksen and many others) who take him for all he's got and more. The vast cast is well used and it is extremely well constructed, though there are a few bits here and there that I didn't get, such as why Jerry Orbach's Detective Gus Levy got set up in a garment sweatshop, and what options the unit had once the Feds got involved.

Roger Ebert: four stars, based on a book about a true story. Janet Maslin.