David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on... See full summary »
Robert De Niro,
Lost in his constant search for a mother he never knew and a father who spent his life as a petty criminal, James Franco as Adam Blande updates the James Dean mythical figure in this ... See full summary »
New York City homicide detective Vincent LaMarca has forged a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, making a name for himself as a man intensely committed to his work. But on his latest case, the stakes are higher for Vincent--the suspect he's investigating is his own son. He and Joey have been painfully estranged ever since Vincent divorced his wife and left the decaying boardwalks of Long Beach, Long Island for the anonymity of Manhattan and a successful career with the NYPD. He lives his life in solitude, keeping his girlfriend at arm's length; the closest relationship he maintains is with his partner, Reg--and Vincent makes sure that stops at the precinct door. As long as Vincent lives in the protection of the present, he doesn't have to deal with the pain of his past--or his sorrow over his broken relationship with Joey. But this murder investigation is drawing Vincent home to Long Beach, the self-proclaimed City by the Sea, where the past has been waiting for him to ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
"City by the Sea" starring Robert DeNiro and Frances McDormand (Fargo & Almost Famous) is an exciting and heartfelt melodrama. Director Michael Caton-Jones proves himself with one of his greatest efforts to date, bouncing back from his previous disappointing and misdirected film "The Jackal." Caton-Jones displays a style all his own with stunning atmospheric poignancy. The city by the sea, to which the film refers to is Long Island, N.Y., a wonderfully lonely and dilapidated city to where junkie Jimmy Nova, (DeNiro's son) calls home.
DeNiro plays a well-respected cop with a terribly troubled past that seems to constantly haunt him. His ex-wife, played by Patti Lupone, struggles to get over the violence of their past relationship while his son, played by James Franco, is headed down the same path as DeNiro's father once was, that of an (alleged?) murderer. Jimmy Nova, as he's known around town mixes with the wrong crowd, as do most junkies, and one night finds himself struggling for his life, and before he knows it, stabbing and killing a high profile drug dealer. This relatively small act of self-defense cascades a sequence of irreversible events, which never seem to let up until the end. DeNiro, of course, is assigned to the case and unknowingly hunts down his own son who he hasn't seen or heard from in several years. Both father and son have moved on with their lives since their seperation, but still harbor intense emotional feelings for each other that seem to slowly emerge further and further into the film. To top it all off the two men are involved in complex relationships of their own which naturally complicates things further.
DeNiro's relationship with Frances McDormand seems quite convenient at times, but nonetheless shows the tenderness and compassion of both characters, while Franco's relationship feels more like a fling with multiple strings attached. In the end, both DeNiro and his son must face the issues that have plagued them for three generations and make one of the hardest decisions of their life.
Similar topics and themes in "City by the Sea", were explored in "Road to Perdition", however it is the way that they are explored that keeps the film feeling fresh and unique. Similar themes explored are the father-son relationship, the destructive path of violence and crime, and most importantly the will and courage to fight for a second chance at life. I was particularly impressed with the atmospheric mood of New York that Caton-Jones set from the beginning, reminiscent of Scorcese's "Taxi Driver", thus giving the film the reality that many recent Hollywood films tend to lack. The acting in this film is of the highest quality and will not be overlooked, contending with so
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