Wednesday, January 21, 2009

1/16/09: Mad City (1997)

Once more, we go back to the future, this time to 1997's Mad City, a maddeningly heavy-handed smackdown of the media from director Costa-Garvas. When an ex-security guard takes a bunch of little kids hostage at the museum where he was fired, a TV newsman (Dustin Hoffman) on the scene gets entirely too involved in the unfolding drama, using his proximity as a way of advancing his own career. For once it's not about Hoffman giving a stellar performance (in fact, he's mostly phoning it in). It's about the director making a grand statement about the media circus. We don't care one iota about any of the characters, and unlike Wag the Dog—Dusty's other film from the same year—there's no humor in the satire. It's just preachy as all outdoors, and it doesn't help that the film's pace is agonizingly slow. One bright spot: the lovely Tammy Lauren as Miss Rose. Rating: 2/5.

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