Night and the City [1992]

Producer-turned-director Irwin Winkler (The Net) crafted this 1992 remake of Jules Dassin's 1950 film noir about a small-time hustler in London who gets in over his head. Winkler's version is set in New York and stars Robert De Niro as a shyster lawyer who decides to get even with a boxing promoter (Alan King) who bests him in court. A couple of innocents are talked into helping the cause, notably the brother (Jack Warden) of De Niro's enemy and a barmaid (Jessica Lange) who agrees to finance the operation. Everything goes south, plunging the hero into prospects of real disaster. The film is far from an exemplary, contemporary noir, but its outstanding cast, with no shortage of charisma and dynamics, keeps things terribly interesting. So does the funny but terse script by Richard Price (Clockers), who also has a cameo as a doctor. Winkler's sensibilities as a tasteful and intelligent producer still get in the way of his daring as a director, but he does leave us with much to be satisfied about. --Tom Keogh

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