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City Hall (1996) - Plot Summary Poster

(1996)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A young boy dies from a stray bullet during a shootout between a cop and mob family member who had previously been supiciously given probabtion, only to break its terms. New York's Deputy Mayor, Kevin Calhoun starts digging for information.

  • One seemingly routine morning, a little boy is shot dead in the cross fire between a drug dealer and a narcotics detective in a predominantly black New York City neighborhood. John Pappas, the idealistic mayor of the city, cleverly prevents a race riot, and everything seems to be OK. However, things get complicated again when Kevin Calhoun, Pappas's loyal chief of staff, who is even more idealistic than Pappas himself, begins to wonder why the drug dealer, who just happens to be the son of the local Mafia boss, was out on the streets in the first place after receiving a sentence of five year's probation for a conviction which would normally warrant a 10 to 20-year jail term. Further complicating matters is Marybeth Cogan who represents the widow of the narcotics detective. She is trying to find out why the pension for the cop is being withheld and she brings Calhoun deeper into a scandal that makes him take a second look at what he once took for granted.

  • The accidental shooting of a boy in New York leads to an investigation by the Deputy Mayor, and unexpectedly far-reaching consequences.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • This complex 1996 drama directed by Harold Becker (Sea of Love) attempts to explore big-city corruption and the flexibility of what's right and wrong in the political arena. John Cusack plays the senior aide to mayor John Pappas (Al Pacino), a popular and seasoned politician whose administration is threatened when what seems to be an accidental shooting of a child reveals a nest of corruption and lifelong personal debts. This tests Cusack's loyalty to the man he thought he knew. Pacino turns in a finely textured performance as a man who has his own lofty ideals, but whose pragmatism sets in motion a series of events with tragic results. Cusack admirably captures the essence of someone polished and savvy at his job but must cope with fundamental disillusionment. This political thriller suffers at times from a lack of focus, but still offers an insightful and poignant treatise on the quagmire of politics in the modern age and the human toll it sometimes exacts.

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