Robert De Niro returns to the drama category in "City by the Sea," a thriller with little thrills but some good acting. This is the perfect example of a good movie that is just plain boring.
De Niro stars as a New York cop who is sent to Long Beach to investigate the murder of a drug dealer. He soon comes across a suspect, and it turns out that it is his own son (James Franco, of "Spider-Man"), a young man who he hasn't seen in years and has fallen on hard times. However, when he is also blamed for the murder of De Niro's partner, De Niro must make a decision whether to listen to his superiors or believe his son's story.
"City by the Sea" has a good script, good acting, and interesting characters. De Niro, like usual, does an excellent job of bringing many dimensions to his character, as does James Franco, who I believe has a good chance of becoming a very good actor if he sticks to the good scripts. Even Eliza Dushku does a pretty good job.
Unfortunately, good acting and interesting characters don't always make for a great movie. Such is the case here, as "City by the Sea" turns out to be boring. Its characters are interesting, but the plot is ordinary, and the film moves along at slug's pace. I almost fell asleep a couple of times.
Those interested in cop dramas might like "City by the Sea," but don't expect much of a thriller here, as it has no twists and very little action. I'm still waiting for De Niro's big comeback film.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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