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Overall Rating
3.2

Awesome30%
Worth A Look: 10%
Average: 26.67%
Pretty Bad: 16.67%
Total Crap: 16.67%

1 review, 24 user ratings


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Florida City
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Decent mystery--but what's missing?"
3 stars

Dealing with a murder mystery in a small Florida town back in 1941, FLORIDA CITY is a well made but oddly unengaging period piece. I mean "oddly" in the sense that it's not obvious where and why it goes wrong. It just seems flat, somehow.

Reportedly based on a true story, the film places small-town Chief of Police John Haleran (Zen Gesner) at the head of a murder investigation; the victim is a young Japanese woman found in the middle of a field. An inexperienced cop, Haleran's not used to this sort of action; he's basically an average joe with an above-average drinking problem, and it looks like he's in over his head. But he persists in his investigation, and as he does, what looks like a simple homicide turns into something far, far bigger....

FLORIDA CITY is reasonably well acted, with Gesner turning in a serviceable performance as our down-to-earth hero; former pro wrestler George Steele also pops up for a small but memorable role as a grizzled, shotgun-toting bar owner. But the film suffers from a sense of overfamiliarity. Perhaps it's the lifeless dialogue. Perhaps it's the stock situations, in which, for instance, we find Haleran pursued by somebody in a black car, and followed around by creepy-looking men in spectacles. Perhaps it's the uninteresting manner in which the mystery unravels--mostly a matter of tracing phone numbers all over town.

Watching FLORIDA CITY, I found myself recalling the recent Kevin Spacey vehicle THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE (I think it was the mysterious-people-following-Haleran business that did it). DAVID GALE was often absurd, but it held your interest--maybe in part because of its absurdity. FLORIDA CITY doesn't commit such blatant mistakes, but it's also less absorbing; it seems too calculated, too restrained; it suffers from the reverential stiffness that tends to afflict period pieces.

FLORIDA CITY is an all-around solid effort, but it doesn't sit well in the memory.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7529&reviewer=223
originally posted: 04/20/03 17:10:24
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Method Fest Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Method Fest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/30/10 Greg Cameron A charmingly paranoid X-Files view of American history. Bad sound, though. 3 stars
6/24/08 Debra Ridd It was a kuttke fkat but interesting. I thought the Chief of Police did a good job. 4 stars
10/23/07 Markus Orrellius agree with your review, flat w/sub-par acting,question "true" authenticity 2 stars
5/05/07 Edmond Mesko Interesting story poorly directed. 3 stars
5/05/07 E. J. Armstrong I tgt this film was great and held your interest. 4 stars
7/20/06 Alice Great texture - spellbinding 5 stars
1/25/05 neal zachary usually when i get my ass kicked i don't ask for it...this time was the exception. 1 stars
11/04/04 jahn hatley is this the best orlando has to offer?No wonder this guy is teaching!!! 2 stars
10/27/04 james martin Mr. Clemente,next time you take a shit plese don't despay it onscreen. 1 stars
10/24/04 john spiletti where can I get a refund for time wasted watching this? 2 stars
10/18/04 latharus godwin I fell asleep about halfway though 1 stars
10/15/04 terrence godwin this film not only sucks,it blows too!!!!! A first!!! 1 stars
10/15/04 jack travis "Florida Shitty" is more like it! 1 stars
10/14/04 roger ebert nice shots,bad acting..........worst fim of the year 2 stars
9/08/04 Rainer Great texture and look. Pearl Harbor, the mother of all Conspiracies 5 stars
7/19/04 Jeff Barton flat script, marginal acting 2 stars
6/22/04 Otto von Goldschlager Thought provoking and stunning to look at 5 stars
9/28/03 Justice A lot better than that other Pearl Harbor movie 5 stars
9/12/03 Katharine Leis Loved it...awesome story presented with realistic characters. 5 stars
6/28/03 Claudia Folkes Shocking, if true 5 stars
6/27/03 Michael Connelly A very intriguing conspiracy piece 4 stars
4/25/03 Pete Tolins Loved it's simplicity 5 stars
4/25/03 Cynthia Glausi I loved the Norman Rockwell feel and look 5 stars
4/24/03 Ralph R. Clemente Done in the spirit of the times 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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  12-Apr-2003

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