City of Industry (1997) – Review

3 Stars

In the immediate post-Pulp Fiction world of the late nineties a rash of imitators quickly followed with the misbegotten intent of achieving that film’s critical and commercial success. Most of those pictures were rightly discarded, but a few were actually quality films that were lumped in to the rapidly expanding “Tarantino-esque crime thriller” sub-genre. City of Industry is one of those unjustly forgotten movies that never found an audience even through ancillary outlets, and years of rotation on cable.

Lee (Timothy Hutton) is a diamond thief setting up a big score in the posh district of Palm Springs. He’s recruited his brother Roy (Harvey Keitel), Jorge (Wade Domiguez), and Spike (Stephen Dorff) to round out the crew. The heist goes down without a hitch, even when the responding officers pass the getaway car in traffic, providing the film with one of it’s best moments. Back in their den counting the loot Skip attempts to double-cross the gang, killing Lee and Jorge. Only Roy is left alive and sets out to pursue Spike across Los Angeles.

City of Industry is a noir thriller with all the classical elements that the genre entails. As the film begins it’s difficult to get a beat on the story or to figure out who the lead character is. Then the violent sabotage occurs and the film becomes a throwback to the hard-nosed pictures of the 1940’s while sporting the technical advances of 1990’s filmmaking. City of Industry isn’t a great movie, but it’s a gritty little film with moxy, and another signature performance from the live-wire Keitel.

Director: John Irvin
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Stephen Dorff, Timothy Hutton

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