Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1998. Trimark Pictures, Lakeshore Entertainment, Graham / Nevinny Productions. Screenplay by Eddie Richey. Cinematography by James L. Carter. Produced by Tracie Graham-Rice, Victoria Nevinny. Music by Graeme Revell. Production Design by Charles William Breen. Costume Design by Alexandra Welker. Film Editing by Zach Staenberg.
Thoroughly satisfying entry in the film noir genre stars Ray Liotta as a crooked cop with a gambling problem who teams up with three dubiously moral members of the force to pull of a big heist in the hopes of paying off his debts. The set-up is simple: rob the loan shark (Giancarlo Esposito) who Liotta’s cop friend Anthony LaPaglia works for to pay off the creepy mob boss (Tom Noonan, especially memorable) to whom he owes the money, but as it always happens, it doesn’t go quite according to plan and blood starts getting spilled. Jeremy Piven and Daniel Baldwin round out the main cast, while Anjelica Huston is stunning as a beautiful bartender who appeals to the side of Liotta that longs for a better life. It has overt shades of Tarantino and Chinatown, and not one plot point comes as a surprise, but it borrows from its inspirations with panache and features such genuinely interesting characters that the reminders are positive and not tiresome in any way.