Although it didn't do particularly well in theaters nor did it recieve a strong critical reception, "City Of Industry" has gone on to gain it's own small following of fans for the dark noir thriller. Although I still do have some reservations about things in the movie, I do understand what people find engaging about the movie; there's some fine performances as well as occasional decent dialogue and plot twists; it's a movie that is dissapointing while watching in the way that you sense a better movie could have been made out of what's involved.
The film opens with Lee Egan(Timothy Hutton, playing far different from the other film he did around this time, "Playing God") planning a jewel heist in LA. He gets his brother and former thief Roy(Harvey Keitel) as well as two others - Jorge Montana (Wade Dominguez) and Skip Kovic (Stephen Dorff) to go in on the crime with them. The four go through a good deal of planning before they actually go through with it - the film is not all about that though - it's mainly about the results of an action that happens afterwards which I won't ruin here.
A betrayal occurs, and Roy(Keitel) goes out for revenge with a capital R. The film tells a fairly predictable tale, although both Keitel and Dorff do quite well to make it more than just your average crime thriller - if they don't quite get it to the level where it could have been. Keitel is restrained anger, and plays that role to perfection. Dorff, on the other hand, has nothing terribly restrained about his performance - but he does play psychotic quite well, and certainly (as we've seen in "Blade") is capable of being the bad guy.
Keitel leads the movie capably, although one wishes that they could have built a stronger story around him, maybe better dialogue and some stronger pacing as the story occasionally drags slightly. Again, I can see why "City Of Industry" has attracted a following - in the realm of noir-thrillers, it's a decent entry, but some fixes here and there could have made for a better picture.
VIDEO: As a movie that's only about 4 years old, I would expect MGM would present the movie in a way that is at least respectable and, for the most part, their anamorphic presentation in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio stays watchable and often enjoyable. Sharpness varies a bit throughout the movie; most of the outdoor and some of the brighter indoor scenes look crisp and pleasantly well-defined, if not remarkable or too impressive. Some of the more dimly lit scenes though, look a bit murky and sometimes a bit on the hazy side.
Not that the presentation is not without other flaws. Print flaws appear now and then - a few more than I would have liked to see on a movie that's only a few years old. Some speckles, marks and the occasional scratch appear - these flaws aren't hugely distracting, although there are times when they occasionally become mildly irritating. Minor pixelation and a couple of tiny instances of edge enhancement are visible, as well.
Colors are sometimes vibrant; the Los Angeles setting has quite a few visually cool looking locations that offer brighter, vibrant colors. Overall, MGM gives "City Of Industry" a decent presentation, but it's not without some minor complaints now and then.
SOUND: Although I'm surprised that a 1997 film like this one is presented in Dolby 2.0 instead of Dolby Digital 5.1, that's the situation for "City Of Industry" on DVD, which offers a sound presentation that doesn't do particularly much with anything except for Stephen Endelman's dark, engaging score, which sounds particularly good here. Dialogue isn't harsh and remains clear, but occasionally sounds rather flat.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic film-themed images serving as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: The trailer is included - suprisingly, an inside insert listing chapter listings (anything), is not.
Positive: "City Of Industry" is priced fairly well as $14.99 (and lower at most stores). The movie isn't particularly great, although some fans of crime thrillers may find it a good rental.
Negative: Image and sound quality are okay, although I would have expected better on a movie that's only 4 years old. Nothing really in the way of features.