Night Falls on Manhattan

Bomb Rating: 

If we lose interest as Sean's conscience drives him to search endlessly for ethical balance, at least we have his penis to cheer for.

If there's a more naive guy on the face of the planet than Sean Casey (Andy Garcia), I'd love to meet him and sell him my car. For a while, I thought I was watching "Forrest Gump" all over again.

Longtime cerebral director Sidney ("12 Angry Men") Lumet would have us believe that Sean grew up in a cop's home, became a cop while attending law school, and ascended to the position of District Attorney -- all without garnering so much as a clue that there might be dirty cops in New York City. Furthermore, we're supposed to believe that Sean thinks he can get through his career as a D.A. without having to cut a few ethical corners now and then. And perhaps primates will gain sufficient speed traveling down Andy's rectum to attain flight.

Sean's moral dilemma comes after his father, Liam (Ian Holm) teams up with partner Joey (James Gandolfini) to attempt to collar drug lord Jordan Washington (Shiek Mahmud-Bey). The resulting trial raises Sean's stock in the District Attorney's office but also raises questions about the legitimacy of the bust. It implicates everybody around him.

The film is a laugher from the beginning as Garcia mumbles to then-D.A. Morgenstern (Ron Leibman) that he's a sprite thirty-three years old. Then comes the face-off against liberal lawyer Sam Vigoda (Richard Dreyfuss), who is such a grating carbon copy of Alan Dershowitz that one suspects Dreyfuss spent months fellating television talk-show hosts to fully prepare for the role. Then Sean falls in love with his assistant, Peggy (Lena Olin), and after a long romantic build-up consisting of the three seconds it takes Sean to get a woody, they become an item. If we lose interest as Sean's conscience drives him to search endlessly for ethical balance, at least we have his penis to cheer for.

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