Mad City is a potenially good film which is ruined because Hollywood formula
takes over it. Hoffman plays news reporter Max Brackett, who while doing a
report in a museum, gets caught in a unintentional hostage situation when
former employee Sam Baily (Travolta) bursts in with a shotgun demanding his
job back. Brackett, instead of panicking his head off, calmy turns this
situation into a massive media event. Although Travolta only wanted his job
back, he's now going to become a big American hero thanks to Brackett.
Mad City has the potential to be a great movie, but sadly it never even
seems to try to be a big movie. The easiest way to find the flaws is
comparing this movie to the section 'David Wilcocks 3 points to a OSCAR
winning movie.' Let's take a look....
1) "The Movie Must Have Great Performances" Well, Mad City is 50/50 here.
Dustin Hoffman is brilliant as a news reporter under pressure, he's calm,
collective and deviously manipulating. He's having much more fun here than
other films he made recently, such as Sphere (1998). Travolta, however,
while a good actor in other films, is just O.K here. Some scenes he does
well, and he's generally good fun, but he's overshadowed by Hoffman. Sadly,
Travolta just isn't powerful enough. Alan Alda also makes an appearence as a
rival news reporter, and he adds some life to the performances
2) "The Movie Must Have Great Direction." Costa-Gravas seems to be having
fun, and there's no faults with the directing. In some scenes he directs
well (such as Travoltas heart-warming plea to the nation to get his job
back) and gets emotion out of the audience. Mainly, though, it's suprinsgly
average, and disappointing.
3) "The Movie Must Have an Intelligent Story and Script." So close here. Mad
City's story is good, but the script never does it justice. It's so basic
and flawed, and it never tries to develop the characters. Brackett remains
as the reporter who wants to get the big story, Travolta remains the
confused guy who wants his job back. In short: they're flat, 2-D characters.
The dialogue itself can sound terrible, and it's always aimed at the dumbest
person in the audience. A shame.
In the end, Mad City is too flawed and too mediorce, and throughout the
whole film I just got the feeling this wan oppurtunity missed. Although it
has flashes of brilliance, Mad City falls into the trap of 'average.'
Copyright © 1998 David Wilcock