City By The Sea
Distinguished veteran New York homicide detective Vincent LaMarca (Robert De Niro) has buried his past in his career, until the death of a drug dealer takes him back to his old neighborhood in the Long Beach suburb. Now seedy and run-down, the one-time middle class resort city is still home to his ex-wife Maggie (Patti Lupone) and estranged son Joey (James Franco). Joey is accused of stabbing the drug dealer and Vince wants to bring his son in quietly. But because of his relationship, Vince is taken off the case. The situation gets worse when Joey is accused of fatally shooting Vince’s long time partner. Vincent must go behind his chief’s back to bring Joey in and solve the killing, before vengeance-minded cops bring Joey down. Michelle (Frances McDormand), Vince’s actress girlfriend, helps him confront his past and reconnect with Joey as a father. Inspired by a true story, this well-crafted drama delivers an Oscar-worthy performance by DeNiro as a father conflicted between family and duty.
A few scenes show graphic use of drugs, although drug use is not condoned. And even Joey admits he needs to clean up. Joey’s girlfriend, Gina (Eliza Dushka), is commended for getting off drugs for the sake of her child, but she later abandons the boy with Vince and says she needs the drugs. Vince and Michelle have an on-going sexual relationship and are seen in bed together, but no graphic sex acts or nudity is shown. Seemingly overwhelmed by current events, Vince finally reveals his past to Michelle. He overwhelms her with the story of his father’s criminal act and subsequent execution, along with charges of wife beating by his ex, his estranged son and his crimes, as well as the sudden introduction of his grandson. However, she helps him find the key to reconnect to Joey as a father. After Joey saves him from a drug dealer, Vince shows his love by talking Joey out of ‘suicide by police squad,’ and protecting him from police snipers. Blood spurts in a few shootings seem overly gruesome, but on-screen violence is limited. Unfortunately, almost a hundred obscenities and strong profanities litter the dialogue and pollute CITY BY THE SEA.