City of Industry

"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 03/12/97)

By Andrea Chase

"City of Industry" is the curiously uninvolving story of a heist followed by betrayal and revenge. I say curiously because the head heist honcho, Roy, is played by Harvey Keitel, an actor who can pretty much stare into space and make it interesting. Too bad the part didn't call for that here.

The story opens with Roy, his yuppie wanna-be brother and two of bro's pals gearing up to knock over a jewelry store located on a busy intersection. The plan is to hit it just before closing time, and this is key, no one's gonna wear a mask, or gloves, nor will they kill the witnesses. Oddly enough, there's an even weaker link in this plan - Skip, the wheel man, who could be outsmarted by a hamster. Skip may not be bright, but he somehow manages to connect the two brain cells in his head and figure out that not sharing means more for him. In short order, Skip pulls his piece and scampers off with the loot. Roy takes this with less than good grace and pursues Skip with dogged, if unfocused, energy. This involves Roy asking people, seemingly at random, where Skip is and these same people inviting Roy to do intimate things to himself.

Now, there's no one out there that's a bigger Harvey Keitel fan than me, but there are some pictures that not even my man Harvey can save and "City of Industry" is one of them. Not that he doesn't try. We get his patented emotional breakdown scene and even an artfully posed bathtub shot. Unfortunately, he plays them in a half-baked script so poorly conceived that I threw in the towel very early on.

Eventually, after I had ceased to take interest in anything happening on screen, I found myself longing for a pair of sunglasses like the ones Elliot Gould, in what may have been a desperate attempt to go unrecognized, wore during his cameo as a Chinese loan shark. Yeah, that's right, Chinese. Never mind he was sitting in a dimly lit nightclub, the shades never left his face. I couldn't blame him, I wanted to block out this yawner, too.

Copyright 1997 Andrea Chase

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