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Reel history | Hoffa: DeVito shouldn't have hassled the Hoff?

11 March 2010 8:46 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Jack Nicholson's storming performance aside, this 1992 biopic of Jimmy Hoffa suffers from an excess of fictional embellishment in David Mamet's screenplay, and unintentional nods to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody video

Director: Danny DeVito

Entertainment grade: C–

History grade: C

Jimmy Hoffa was an organiser for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, an American trade union, serving as its president for 13 years.

After a controversial career, mixed up with organised crime, he disappeared in 1975.


The film begins with Hoffa (Jack Nicholson)'s rise to power, depicting union politics as a long round of violence, thievery, bombings and Mafia deals. According to Robert F Kennedy's prosecution case against Hoffa, this is more or less accurate. Kennedy began to pursue Hoffa through the courts in the late 1950s. Sadly, the film doesn't invest much in Rfk, portraying him as little more than a posh, irritating suit. In real life, Hoffa and Kennedy's »

- Alex von Tunzelmann

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