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,
A conflict develops between a troubled Vietnam veteran and the sister he lives with when she becomes involved romantically with the army buddy who reminds him of the tragic battle they both... 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
Homicide detective Robert De Niro (as Vincent LaMarca) has a skeleton in his closet. Mr. De Niro's father was executed as a baby killer. However, De Niro "turned his life around" and, with help from a law-abiding father figure, became a respectable police officer. Unfortunately, he left his wife and young son on the wrong side of the tracks. Fourteen years later, De Niro's handsome son James Franco (as Joey LaMarca) has become a gaunt Long Beach junkie, with a neglected son of his own. While scoring some junk, Mr. Franco knifes a dealer, in self-defense (this is the film's opening). Then, father De Niro is assigned the task of bringing in his estranged son as a murderer...
If you give "City by the Sea" a chance, it should make a good impression, thanks to the skillfully focused cast and crew. De Niro is particularly good at elevating the story; he keeps everything real. The story is, otherwise, not structurally sound. To give an example (without giving anything away) note that Franco's opening "killing" is hardly a crime. Wouldn't the film's theme have worked better if this was a real, however warranted, passionate murder? This would strengthen the sense of loss/salvation expressed by De Niro and Franco in the final act. There are other puzzling story developments, right up until the final "beach" visit. Director Michael Caton-Jones' near-ending "auto body shop" segment is exciting, though.
******* City by the Sea (2002) Michael Caton-Jones ~ Robert De Niro, James Franco, Frances McDormand
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