|Index||3 reviews in total|
If any actor looks the role - a tough, Jimmy Hoffa-like union boss - it
has to be Brian Dennehy, so the filmmakers certainly cast the right guy
for the part. Dennehy also has a history playing mean, foul-mouthed
villains. Thus, playing the son of the head of a corrupt union family,
is right up his alley. Here, he rises to the power via corruption.
Unfortunately the character he plays, "Jackie Presser," is so unlikeable that he makes the movie unpleasant to watch. He chains smokes, too, which doesn't help and he looks, acts and sounds like a profane slob. Two supporting actors in here also can also portray similar slime-balls: Robert Prosky and Eli Wallach.
I'm sorry but I didn't find this made-for HBO film fun to watch. It was nice to see, however, that it was filmed 90 miles away from me up in Toronto, Ontario.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rated this made for TV movie 8 out of 10 based on the solid acting by
a good cast who give it their all for a relatively small budget
compared to some of the major motion pictures which still bombed after
spending considerably larger sums on their respective productions and
promotions. It must have been extremely difficult to encapsulate Jackie
Presser's 30 years involvement with the Teamster Union in to a 90
minute made for TV movie. If you enjoy teamster/mobster biographies,
and retro clothes styles of the 1970's era this movie is sure to
satisfy your memories.
Jackie Presser is played by the great character actor Brian Dennehy whose physical body mass is similar to that of the real life Jackie Presser. The good supporting cast included Eli Wallach who played Jackie Presser's father, Jeff Daniels who played FBI agent Noonan assigned to infiltrate the teamsters union and break up the mafia's strangle hold on the Teamsters union cash box. Noonan eventually gets to Presser and advises Presser that he better assist with the FBI's investigation by wearing a wire if he wants to avoid jail time for his own illegal wrong doings. In exchange for assisting the FBI in gathering more evidence against the mafia, the FBI would turn a blind eye to some of Presser's continued abuses and illegal activities.
We also get insight in to the extent of extravagance that Jackie Presser availed upon himself and his mistresses. I always enjoy any movie that Mr Dennehy plays a lead role in because he is so versatile an actor with his body of work. Brian Dennehy has had an illustrious career on the big Hollywood screen, but if you really want to see his great acting chops, try and catch a glimpse of him on the stage. He regularly appears on the small stage at the Stratford Ontario festival in numerous roles and he is such a pleasure to watch in person. He is a born stage actor.
Teamster boss based on my review was an accurate portrayal of a greedy union leader who fell prey like so many others first to the criminal underworld, and then in an effort to save his own skin, turned informant with the FBI. If he had not died from a combination of his years of being overweight (nearly 300 pounds), his smoking, a brain tumor, and a heart attack, I am sure he would have died at the hands of some of the criminal element he turned his back on.
This film is an entertaining watch, not bad for a HBO movie. Denny's performance is good as usual; has a made in Canada feel, my guess probably Toronto. Toronto seem to substitute for many American cities. The film has a gutsy, realistic feel to it, and is made honestly. It you like reading books on these issues, you will like this film. Not a great film but I would watch it again. 6/10
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