One seemingly routine morning, a little boy is shot dead in the cross fire between a drug dealer and a narcotics detective in a predominantly black New York City neighborhood. John Pappas (Al Pacino), the idealistic mayor of the city, cleverly prevents a race riot, and everything seems to be OK. However, things get complicated again when Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack), Pappas’s loyal chief of staff, who is even more idealistic than Pappas himself, begins to wonder why the drug dealer, who just happens to be the son of the local Mafia boss, was out on the streets in the first place after receiving a sentence of five year’s probation for a conviction which would normally warrant a 10 to 20-year jail term. Further complicating matters is Marybeth Cogan (Bridget Fonda) who represents the widow of the narcotics detective. She is trying to find out why the pension for the cop is being withheld and she brings Calhoun deeper into a scandal that makes him take a second look at what he once took for granted. —IMDb
Harold Becker (born September 25, 1928) is American film director and producer from New York.
After studying art and photography at the Pratt Institute, Becker began his career as a still photographer, but later tried his hand at directing television commercials, short films and documentaries. Becker made his film debut in 1972 when he directed The Ragman’s Daughter along with Souter Harris. After this film, he went on to other films, including thrillers where ordinary people are caught up in danger and the unexpected. Of these, the one he is applauded for is his 1979 true story film, The Onion Field.
Becker won the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival Gold Prize for his short film Ivanhoe Donaldson. —Wikipedia
I have to say, I do like my political thrillers like the next person, but human interest and direct emotional connection must always be the primary concern of a movie, i my opinion. This one is just a mess and a confused and entangled heap of intrigue and chess, with no room for the characters to breath and spread the human energy. A stale and dry offering which never clicks, despite the good cast.
Too many Screenwriters and Too many dead ends ,one wonders what Sidney Lumet would have done with this.