In New York, the murder of a Bellvue Hospital intern prompts the police to send an undercover detective to investigate.In New York, the murder of a Bellvue Hospital intern prompts the police to send an undercover detective to investigate.In New York, the murder of a Bellvue Hospital intern prompts the police to send an undercover detective to investigate.
"The Sleeping City" is film as a visionary reading of the corruptions inherent both in a medical system where people are overworked and underpaid, stressed to their breaking point and hence easily manipulated -- and where the single, myopic solution for all problems is money. Almost.
For into this mix comes Detective Fred Rowan, aka Richard Conte, in an under cover sting operation. Conte acts his grim, good-Judas role beautifully, tough as a slowly sniffing, plodding bull; secretive as a spider. In the end, Rowan's/Conte's tactics solve the immediate problem. Not without irony. For this story wisely offers no long-term strategy to the sleeping sickness of corruption at work in the vast hospital complex and in America's medical system. Good men and women, ordinary folk, are lost in a vast concrete moral maze. The world is far more grey than black and white. People die but are not redeemed. Doctors are lost and not replaced. All of society suffers, although a few of the guilty are punished.
Finally, the dialogue is superb. With give and take like: (-) "How is he doc?" (+) "Breathing from memory." And "Don't ever argue with a cop, son. Just answer his questions." And the ending rises out on a beautiful, urban long shot, dark and double-edged as a pleasing sunset with no rain, peace without quiet, and reminiscent of the city finalés of King Vidor's "The Crowd "(1928), Mike Nichols' "Working Girl" (1988) and other films which use the city setting for perfect enhancement of trenchant storytelling.
- Sep 12, 2013