City of Industry

Life's a bitch and so small-time criminal Lee Egan (Timothy Hutton) has decided to change his luck by calling in the help of his brother Roy (Harvey Keitel) to carry off a Palm Springs jewel robbery that he has masterminded. Roy's been the route, done the time, had the experience and it shows in the quiet, watchful way he approaches everything he does. Lee has also recruited the services of Jorge Montana (Wade Dominguez) and Skip Kovich (Stephen Dorff). The last accomplice, who is to be the "wheelman" for the caper, is a loose cannon and Roy is immediately suspicious of his wild unpredictability. The robbery goes down and the goods are being divided when Skip pulls an unexpected stunt and tries to kill the others. It's up to Roy to seek revenge and he's the right man to do it. Alone on a fugitive path, seeking cover from various branches of the underworld, he winds up needing the practical help of Jorge's wife Rachel (Famke Janssen). Both suffering from feeling of loss, they find solace in each other and develop a tender relationship.

From the opening shots of the flyovers in L.A. to the final shoot-out on the industry terrain, the feel of the big, dirty, nasty city is prevalent throughout. The message reads: If you want to get anything in this rotten world, you've got to grab it hard with both hands and not let go. Keitel, especially, is marvelous in this kind of world. Never settling for the easy way out, the subtleties he sets down introduce us to yet another new character from the dark edge of night. Commenting on the role of Roy, Keitel says, "the exploration of your primordial feelings is what the entire journey is about." Timothy Hutton makes a convincingly gritty member on the downslide of the gangster community, but unfortunately disappears from the screen much too early. Stephen Dorff also delivers a fine performance as a sleazy,

untrustworthy, ice-cold, creepy, two-bit criminal; the type of role for which he seems to be ideally suited. As Dorff puts it, "Skip is a kid who never really found himself and never will. He can unload a gun into someone's head and smile."

Producer Evzen Kolar and writer/producer Ken Solarz, who share a passion for the film noir genre, have attempted to realize a contemporary counterpart with this film. The raw edge is there and the violent activities are blood curdling, but the story, when all is said and done, although clever and intriguing, is not of classic standard. Even the sublime cast cannot remedy someone wishing for more at the end, when all is said and done, than the image or simple statement of a dangling locket.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett