City Island (2009)

| 29 May , 2010 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Directed By: Raymond De Felitta
Starring: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Steven Strait, Ezra Miller, Alan Arkin

City Island is a film about the lies we tell to simplify our lives, and the complications that these lies create. It is a small production that is brimming with exceptional talent, and it cleverly and warmly tells the tale of life in the seaside Bronx suburb of the same name.

Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) is a corrections officer with two main secrets. He has a secret desire to be Marlon Brando and is taking acting classes to fulfill this, and he has a son that he abandoned from a relationship previous to his marriage. When he meets his son Tony (Steven Strait) at the corrections facility where he works – sadly as an inmate – he offers to release Tony into his own custody and has Tony stay at his home, all without letting his son, or his family, know of their true relationship.

His wife Joyce (Julianna Margulies), has some secrets of her own. In the belief that when her husband disappears for his acting classes he is in fact having an affair, Joyce decides that she too should get in on the action and begins a dangerous flirtation with Tony. Their daughter Vivian (who is coincidentally Garcia’s real life daughter Dominik Garcia-Lorido) is also partial to hiding things, such as her job as a stripper – a means of employment that is necessary to support her studies now that she lost her college scholarship (another secret) – and, finally, their son Vince Jnr (Ezra Miller) is hiding his new found sexual fetishism.

Garcia excels as the humble yet flawed Vince. Not only does your heart go out to him, but there is a wonderful sense of parody in Vince trying to be Brando, when Garcia himself was of course part of the Godfather Trilogy. And following on from her well-received return to our screens in The Good Wife, Margulies is proving to be a serious talent with both diversity and longevity.

City Island offers the world a different view into the urban pockets of New York City. Away from the imposing buildings and the high streets, here is a New York that is home for a truly lovable character – the juxtaposition of the small community in this exaggerated metropolis serves only to enhance its humanity.

The plot offers an intricately woven web that unravels to the delight and comedic joy of its audience. This is that rare combination of quality scriptwriting and the acting to match it. When films are so often consumed by special effects and large scale plots, it is the simplicity of this film that draws you to it and will have you talking about it for weeks to come – a must see, indeed.

In cinemas now.


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Category: Film & TV

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