City Hall Movie Review
City Hall is a drama/thriller with most of the thrill sucked out of it. After a ridiculously convoluted opening, filled with the weak voice-over of the Deputy Mayor of New York City, Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack), we find ourselves embroiled in the world of Mayor John Pappas (Pacino). As the film opens, we find a cop and mobster killed in a shoot-out, taking with them the life of a six-year old boy.
The ensuing investigation turns up evidence of corruption in the judicial system, focusing on Judge Walter Stern (Martin Landau, whose talents are wasted here) and in politics, with show tune-singing official Frank Anselmo (Danny Aiello) under the gun. Helping Calhoun in his inquiries is attorney Marybeth Cogan (Bridget Fonda, also wasted, but with a cool haircut)--with whom he develops the requisite love interest.
City Hall has all the elements of a great film except one: a script. Four writers worked on the film, and that was obviously three too many. As a result, the storyline is completely limp. There's no suspense at all, and you'll see the one measly plot twist coming a mile away (not that it makes any sense, just that it's obvious).
And oddly, the remainder of the film is superbly crafted. The ensemble cast is nearly flawless, especially Cusack as the go-for-it right-hand man who has no life outside the Mayor's Office. And after almost two hours, Al Pacino really is the Mayor of NYC. The cityscapes of New York are awesome on the big screen, as well, and the witty humor that punctuates the film does a good job at relieving the tedium from watching the film's lifeless story.
Bottom line: with all this talent, I was expecting a whole lot more.
Pacino swears to tell the truth: the movie just ain't that great.