Phoenix (1998)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1998.  Trimark Pictures, Lakeshore Entertainment, Graham / Nevinny Productions.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Thoroughly satisfying entry in the film noir genre stars 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 works for to pay off the creepy mob boss (, 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.  and round out the main cast, while  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.

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