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Report to the Commissioner
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Reviews & Ratings for
Report to the Commissioner More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

So much talent, so early in their careers.

Author: HiLander-4 from Appalachian Highlands, Kentucky, USA
8 May 1999

You'll overlook this film unless you really are an Aquarian and remember its original theatrical run. Not as highly regarded as Serpico. or Prince of the City, but just as important as one of the breakthrough films that suggested cops could be the bad guys, or, more accurately," ...there are no good guys, there are no bad guys, there's only you and me and we two disagree..". If, by chance you ever see this on the rental shelf, or late night TV, watch it, and you won't be sorry, even if only to see a chronicle of the times before anti-heroes regularly wore badges.

"Homicide" (also starring Yaphet Kotto), "Law and Order" (also, originally, starring Michael Moriarity)...even "Hill Street Blues" owe a debt to this gritty, depressing view of the law enforcement establishment.

In retrospect, watching this film adds significance to the subsequent work of its company.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

This movie deserves a remake

Author: realvicious from United States
22 August 2005

Despite its' flaws and shortcomings, and yeah, Moriarty was a questionable choice as the protagonist rookie cop his- foot chase and subsequent confrontation with a targeted black drug dealer salvaged his otherwise weak, defeated,emasculated character.I thought that this movie was a gritty,seedy,cynical well acted, hardboiled 70's cop flick that was vastly underrated. The plot, based on an actual NYPD case was plausible, and the NYPD police hierarchy's political mindset during that era was aptly displayed. They were ready to toss one of their own-an underling,perhaps, but still one of their own-under the train to save their flagging careers and avoid a volatile racial outcome. Kotto's streetwise,paternalistic portrayal as an NYPD detective solidified his stake as a preeminent black actor of that era. This movie ,along with the French Connection, the Seven Ups, Death Wish and Serpico, is one of the all time best NYPD movies of the 70's. This is a movie that's begging to be re made.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Report to the Commissioner

10/10
Author: jdamico5 from United States
25 September 2005

I just got back from a film club screening of Report to the Commissioner, followed by a Q & A with Jonathan Demme...I loved it!

I thought that Michael Moriarity's performance was amazing; he was able to capture the ambivalence of wanting to do "the right thing", according to his value system, and carrying out the legacy that his father had wanted for his older brother, who'd been killed in Vietnam.

His internal torture was brilliantly played in the elevator scene, in which he was wordless, but communicated his conflict and terror chillingly nonetheless.

The most touching scene for me was when he was giving his statement to the police officials. When he was questioned about his "subversive" college activities he poignantly stated that he had protested the (Vietnam) war. It was resonant for me, having been one of those protesters, and relevant to these times--- our war in Iraq, and the current political environment which implies that anyone protesting it is "un-American".

Looking at the demographics on this site in terms of voting on this film, I find it very interesting that my age cohort gave this film the highest ratings. Perhaps it's because we lived through times that make this film cinema verite'. I'd love to hear other's opinions on this interesting phenomenon.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Cops don't even like each other

7/10
Author: helpless_dancer from Broken Bow, Oklahoma
13 January 2002

A not too likable, idealistic young detective is given an assignment which was unnecessary and therefore led to a tragedy and a shakeup in the police hierarchy. The detective, who was totally useless as a policeman, got all wrapped up emotionally with his assignment and acted completely irrationally when confronted with a dangerous situation. I liked the way the film jumped back and forth in time and depicted life in the department and in the inner city realistically. I didn't care for the way a pad happened to be placed conveniently on the rooftop so the jumpers would have a soft landing. Good drama well worth watching.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A true story........

Author: jcm11360 from United States
17 May 2005

I was one of the many bystanders who witnessed part of the major scene which took place on location in front of and inside Sak's 5th Avenue in Manhattan, a lunch hour that turned into two. I believe it was based on a true event and is documented in the NYPD files.As for the movie it was one of the best and well acted movies of the seventies in my opinion. I have been trying to get a copy of it for years.The movies involves a screw-up that leaves a female undercover cop dead because the brass feel asleep and later looked for and found a scapegoat, sound familiar? As I mentioned the acting was great, all of the cast acted as if they been NY City cops at some point in their lives.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

another overlooked underrated work of genius

Author: D. Packard (oogila@webtv.com) from United States
14 September 2002

Here we have yet ANOTHER case of an extremely underrated film. is everyone out of their minds?? Whats with all the mediocre reviews/comments? And here we go with the "it isn't as good as the book" comments. I thought I cleared that up when I reviewed "Slaughterhouse Five" A great cast in a fascinating gritty 70's crime thriller, VISUALLY much in the vein of French Connection, Taking of Pelham 1,2 3 or Panic in Needle Park. The sequence with Bob Balaban as the maniac amputee was brilliant, Susan Blakely is beautiful, story is fascinating. Thank god I had the chance to see this on film (as a pristine 16mm print) I'm looking forward to seeing the 2nd reel.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Know The Players

7/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
5 March 2008

Report to the Commissioner is a film about a misfit detective who does not heed the warning of his senior partner and gets himself into one beautiful jackpot as Andy Sipowicz would put it. It's an underrated classic film from the seventies with an interesting cast and a lot of good performances.

Abby Mann wrote the original screenplay of Report to the Commissioner and Mann who is famous for writing Judgement at Nuremberg also is the creator of that classic police series Kojak from the seventies. The film does have a Kojak feel to it. Shooting the thing entirely on location in New York really helps with the believability of the plot.

Michael Moriarty plays a young and very naive detective assigned to what looks to be the Midtown North Precinct in Manhattan. He comes from a police family and he's assigned to partner with Yaphett Kotto who worked with Moriarty's father.

At the same time Susan Blakely is a young, fresh faced, but most experienced detective whose all American good looks fool a lot of perpetrators. She decides to get close to a big time drug dealer played by Tony King to get the goods on him.

To make her cover as a runaway sound feasible, higher up captain Hector Elizondo has Moriarty make some routine inquiries looking for Blakely under her street name of Chicklet. The only problem is that Moriarty takes the assignment way too seriously, earnestly trying to win respect among his peers. It results in tragedy all around.

The cast is really finely tuned in this film. Especially Elizondo who will chill you with his attitude. He turns in a fine performance as a bureaucratic cop real good at department politics, but a real snake as a human being.

In one of his earliest roles is William Devane who has only one scene in the film questioning Moriarty about what's happened. Devane's a hotshot Assistant District Attorney who's practically salivating over a homicide conviction, another scalp for his lodgepole so to speak. You will remember him.

Report to the Commissioner is a nice look at the Seventies in New York and a great police drama. You will agree that Yaphett Kotto gave Moriarty the best advice about knowing the players in a given situation.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Bad tag line for a good movie

6/10
Author: Miles-10 from United States
7 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I haven't seen this movie in years, but I would not mind seeing it again. Pretty good, gritty cop movie. Why do I hate the tag line? Because with a tag liner like that, who needs a spoiler? Moriarty's performance is very typical of the period and of his performances during the 1970s (see also "Who'll Stop the Rain"). I'd be curious to see him again because he was unknown to me in 1975, I'd compare his performance to what he's done since. When I think back on that movie, I now imagine it as if a young Gordon Clapp played the lead. Everyone else is memorable, too. Susan Blakely knocked me out--and that was when she was fully dressed. Yaphet Kotto is rightly well-remember for this movie. But I would not want to see this movie remade only because I generally do like to see remakes. They make me feel old.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Classic Seventies

Author: skywardpictures from New York
29 November 2004

Okay, so there aren't enough reviews praising this? So, I will write one. It is not so much that this film is underrated, it deserves the place it has, in the unvarnished uniqueness of post French Connection New York films greenlit because Connection won best picture. This picture is interesting because in the middle of all the crime stuff, it's center is really a chewy for relationships (the kind that guys write after watching 'The Dirty Dozen' or 'Serpico' 20 times), and it is that dark center of distrust with it's dangerous home truths that provides the engine of drama.

Ever feel like that's all life is -- police stories? This one will fuel you're suspicions, if you allow yourself to go along with it (which is hard to do), but that's what New York dark cinema is supposed to do.

But see it to celebrate Susan Blakely, with 'Rich Man Poor Man' as the second part of the double bill. She has her place as a TV queen but before that she also did some very nice work large screen and showed real promise with this pic. The wardrobe, the Tidyman script, the Tosi cinematography in New York, and with the tortured performance of Moriarty there you have it. It is not a satisfying film, that is why the reactions, but it isn't supposed to be. "Report to the Commissioner" happens every day here, ask James Mills who wrote it, he has since discovered it happens all over the world.

Watch 'The Way We Were' after to see Blakely just coming on the scene, if this one is too dark for you, or, 'Who'll Stop the Rain' to see Moriarty.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing

Author: jmorrison-2 from Farmington Hills, MI
19 July 2002

I had read this book many years ago, and was captivated by the story based on true events. The story was exceptional, and told a tragic story of corruption and dishonesty within the New York Police Force.

The movie, however, thoroughly disappointed me. The decision to cast Michael Moriarty as the young, out-of-his-element cop was a mistake. His over-the-top whining, childish character totally ruined this for me. I couldn't believe this guy would have ever been allowed out of the police academy. A decent opportunity to portray a gripping, true-life episode, goes down the drain with a very questionnable casting decision.

What made this doubly disappointing was the excellent performances from the rest of the cast, and the gritty, realistic look of a grimy New York, and the slimy characters slithering around under the surface.

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