111 Min | Drama – Thriller | April 1996
IMDB Rating: 6.2
Director: Harold Becker
Starring: Al Pacino, John Cusack, Bridget Fonda
City Hall Review: City Hall is a somewhat mixed bag. Part vignettes of NYC political life, and part moralizing tale. Al Pacino, a Dukakis-esque Boss with Presidential dreams, gives an oft times sullen or subdued performance. There’s a couple times when he chews the scenery, and in the case of City Hall, this is where he shines. John Cusack gives a subdued and generally flawless performance, without going into caricature of a New Orleans dialect, or sliding into melodrama during the films climax. Danny Aiello as a burrough political chief, is also very good.
The major problem with City Hall, and it is a good movie in many ways, is the general feeling of a lack of momentum. City Hall comes off more like a documentary, than a motion picture. We see the action or follow the story from a detached perspective, and naturally, the viewer doesn’t become involved. When the viewer doesn’t get involved to a certain degree, they become apathetic towards the characters, and eventually, the plot.
City Hall tends to alienate, and what should have been a riveting, detail divulging finale, came off as a “Hmmm uh okay.” They say you “Can’t fight city hall,” as the tread worn cliche goes. Yet, it still can’t stop you from thinking what might have been, if they had just tightened up the screenplay and pacing of City Hall.