City Hall (1996)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Political Drama  |   Release Date - Feb 16, 1996 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

Director Harold Becker reunites with his Sea of Love star Al Pacino for this underrated gem of a political drama written by a trio of heavy-hitting screenwriters. Pacino is at his best in the role of a powerful man trying to do the right thing while compromising his values and integrity. A subplot involving Bridget Fonda seems to exist solely for the purpose of providing a love interest for the character played by John Cusack and detracts mightily from the film. Cusack struggles somewhat with his role of a naïve do-gooder who goes from starry-eyed idealism and hero-worship to sabotaging the object of his admiration perhaps too quickly, but his slightly underdeveloped character is a quibble in what is mostly an intelligent, probing film with much on its artistic mind. City Hall sank at the box office and was given a lukewarm critical reception; given the later success of television shows such as Spin City and The West Wing, perhaps the film was somewhat ahead of its time.