(out of 5)
The sordid life and rise to power of Teamster Union president James R. Hoffa is the subject of this charismatic biopic. Jack Nicholson, under heavy makeup including a prosthetic nose, guides the entire production along as we follow the man’s career from his early days torching laundromats to his rise to prominence as the head of the labourers’ union that provided so much protection for overworked, underpayed labourers. Danny DeVito is marvelous as the man who stood by him the whole way. The film doesn’t give up enough personal information about Hoffa, leaving him something of a mystery, but more important is that David Mamet’s excellent screenplay doesn’t require you to think of him as a saint in order to admire his better qualities.
Directed by Danny DeVito
Screenplay by David Mamet
Cinematography by Stephen H. Burum
Music by David Newman
Production Design by Ida Random
Costume Design by Deborah Lynn Scott