Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin enhance New York comedy
And then comes the
“secret of secrets,” as Vince calls it. His newest prisoner, 24-year-old Tony,
is the son he abandoned at birth. Gaining Tony a release under his custody,
Vince tells the family that he’s a handyman who’ll live in the shed for a few
months while doing work outside.
The pungent accents and
sharp-elbowed dialogue of City Island, the latest film by director-writer
Raymond De Felitta, suggests yet another crime story from New York’s mean streets. But after a short
time the comedy surfaces. It’s not a laugh-out-loud movie until the climactic
scene, a kind of Bronx standoff dressed up as
bedroom farce. City Islandworks best as a gentle spoof of those
steamy, dog-days movies about secrets and lies, crime and passion, set in the
tightly packed core of the Big Apple.
The plot is slender but
gains substance through superb acting from Garcia, who prowls like a wary,
inarticulate animal in the manner of a younger Robert De Niro, and Margulies, a
fireplug of anger and repressed energy. Alan Arkin delivers an excellent cameo
as the director of Vince’s acting class, especially during his attack on the
pregnant pauses of Method actors such as Marlon Brando. “Why does he have to
think about it?” the director demands when one of his students slips into a
Method moment. “If you want to think, think in the privacy of your own home.
It’s not acting.”
City Island opens April 23 at the Oriental Theatre.