City of Hope is a portrait of a typical middle-sized American city of the present day. The crux of the story is an old apartment block which stands in the way of a major commercial ... See full summary »
City of Hope is a portrait of a typical middle-sized American city of the present day. The crux of the story is an old apartment block which stands in the way of a major commercial development. Joe Rinaldi is the building contractor who owns the buildings, and is being pressured to torch them to permit the development to occur. His estranged son, Nick, soon becomes a pawn in the power politics of the city. Corrupt Mayor Baci and policeman O'Brien are determined to push the development, while idealistic city councilman Wynn soon finds himself torn between what he knows is right and what his black constituents want. Written by
I've seen several John Sayles films and have been more or less impressed with all of them. This finely wrought and under appreciated little treasure though is probably his most complex and evocative. It's a formidable task tying together the loose ends of lives Sayles starts with into a coherent drama. All this done in the milieu of a corrupt city, tangled relationships and madness. Even the humour is bleak. There's nothing here that employs maudlin sentiment or melodrama, though. Somehow the tragedy is alleviated by a pervasive and dramatically ironic atmosphere of hope. It's in the pours and veins of this movie.. there's a human quality to it that's difficult to pin down but once detected transforms it into something special.
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