City of Industry

Bomb Rating: 

Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino seem to be running some sort of race to see who can play the most low-life hoodlums before their careers devolve into pathetic grandfather roles.

Putting aside for a moment that Harvey Keitel and Al Pacinoseem to be running some sort of race to see who can play the most low-life hoodlums before their careers devolve into pathetic grandfather roles, has anyone noticed that Keitel's version of emotional catharsis sounds like the wailing of a stuck pig? It's like he topped a five iron, snapped the club over his leg, and stuck himself in the gut with one of the sharp ends.

Harvey's emotional moment in this film happens after a robbery has gone bad. Roy Egan (Keitel) is called in by his brother, Lee (Timothy Hutton), to do a "sure thing" robbery. Along on the team are Lee's buddy, Jorge (Wade Dominguez), and the wheelman, Skip (Stephen Dorff). Surprisingly, the heist does go well; that is, until Skip shoots Lee and Jorge, leaving Roy to bang his fists on a card table and wail like a baby who's just sucked down an amphetamine-laced glass of Tang.

That Harvey has a similar moment in "Reservoir Dogs" seems ironic since "City of Industry," though equally obsessed by the heist-gone-wrong scenario, prefers pronoun battery to quirky dialogue as its method of character development. Thus, Mr. White saying "yeah, I read Silver Surfer" is replaced with "yeah, uh, I read that thing."

Set in a dark, dank, unHollywood-like Los Angeles and following the lives of low-life criminals, "City of Industry" is what film school types like to call "film noir." The film even goes so far as to shoot at the same oil refinery where James Cagney met his doom in "White Heat." To the rest of us, however, "film noir" is a foreign term usually heard in theaters by crowds of screaming French people after the projector light has gone out. In this film's case, such a problem might actually have made for better viewing.

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