Reviewed By Greg Muskewitz
Posted 02/04/01 16:50:09

"...Mamet's script is structured and intricate..."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Homicide is probably David Mamet's least articulate movie in dialogue (making it that much more realistic) but his most articulate and fully realized script.

The story here focuses on a non-practicing Jewish cop (Joe Mantegna) who, while in the middle of a case with his partner (William H. Macy), is switched on to another case because the father of an old Jewish woman who was killed, requests him. To put a typical label on it, it fits into the description of getting in over your head. There is a strong racial element, strengthfully interjected by Mamet, of fitting in, making a place for yourself, doing your duty for "your kind," and such further types of alienation within race and profession. Not only is Gold (Mantegna) frustrated over having his cases switched, but he continually swings back and forth between them, weighing his responsibility to his superiors, but his dedication to his partner and the other case. Then, he is accused of not being a real Jew, not knowing what it means to be one, and feeling forced to prove that he is one. Mamet's script is structured and intricate, often surprising us not because the quodlibets are such a shock, but because of the way he so carefully and maturely unbosoms them. Mantegna, who was a strong, nonchalant presence in Mamet's House of Games, again measures up finely to the demands. Rebecca Pidgeon turns up for a nice brief spot; I only wish that she would have been around more. No one was miscast or an embarressment; they all more than adeptly brought validity to this film that should be seen. It's intelligent and the interest in the story carries over into the anticipation of the audience. Only the anti-climatic ending is a little weaker than one would have liked or desired and not up to the challenge as are most endings of Mamet films.

Final Verdict: B+.

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