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"Night Falls on Manhattan" (meaningless title:**1/2 out of ****). A politically ambitious chief district attorney (Ron Leibman) assigns an upcoming young assistant D.A. (Andy Garcia) the task of prosecuting. Things proceed so smoothly in the first hour for our young hero that you just know that embarrassing revelations are going to come crashing down around him in the second hour, which they do.
This is familiar turf for veteran filmaker Sidney Lumet, and he has made a fairly compelling film, despite the miscasting of British Holm and Cuban Garcia as father and son, respectively, although Holm does manage an amazingly authentic Queens accent. Leibman overacts outrageously as the head D.A.; one wonders how anyone as abrasive as he is would be able to get so far!
Some sequences are a little too pat for comfort. Still "Manhattan" makes for engrossing if predictable drama, exploring once again the extent to which the cumbersome wheels of justice have to be manipulated. Richard Dreyfuss is pretty good in a surprisingly small role as the drug dealers's Dershowitz-like defense attorney, who turns out to be more willing to bend the rules than you would expect, considering his primary motive for taking the case.
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