Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The gripping story of a dedicated police officer who discovers that the chief suspect in his current murder investigation is his own son. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. 80
    For the first time in years, De Niro digs deep emotionally, perhaps because he's been stirred by the powerful work of his co-stars, including a subtle Frances McDormand and a ferocious Patti LuPone, as well as the heartbreaking (and achingly beautiful) Franco.
  2. Moves along with a quietude, a scruffy direct plainness that has long gone out of style.
  3. For some reason, the emotional payoff of the film -- the healing of a dysfunctional family -- doesn't quite come off. Possibly this is because Franco doesn't generate the necessary sympathy or father-son chemistry with De Niro, possibly because it's just not in the script.
  4. Reviewed by: Collin Levey
    60
    Notwithstanding a thin script and a color-by-numbers ending, the movie is redeemed by its solid performances.
  5. Has trouble seeming real. Its back story, involving the sins of Detective LaMarca's own father, feels contrived and the eventual resolution is simultaneously shaky and too pat.
  6. The changes are meant to make it easier for audiences to accept Vincent's loyalty to Angelo and Joey, but they blunt the genetic mystery that made McAlary's story so compelling in the first place.
  7. 30
    The true story of the LaMarcas, well told by the late Mike McAlary in Esquire, has been pounded into TV-crime mush by screenwriter Ken Hixon and director Michael Caton-Jones. Shockingly, the acting doesn't help.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. JohnN.
    Mar 1, 2006
    9
    I thought this was a beautifully constructed movie; a gripping story, great casting and understandably strong performances. Notably, I I thought this was a beautifully constructed movie; a gripping story, great casting and understandably strong performances. Notably, I welcomed the minimal use of music to tell me how I should feel; the script and performances were largely left to stand on their strengths. It's a mystery to me that this movie had such poor reviews, although perhaps it suited the DVD medium on which we viewed it. Highly recommended. Expand
  2. Feb 2, 2013
    4
    Imagine eating five or six pieces of toast as a meal, wouldn't you be left feeling like, "Is this it?!?" It isn't that there is anything wrongImagine eating five or six pieces of toast as a meal, wouldn't you be left feeling like, "Is this it?!?" It isn't that there is anything wrong with toast, but piece after piece it wouldn't make for much of a meal in it of itself. In the same way, City by the Sea just didn't leave me satisfied. It wasn't that there was anything blaringly wrong with it, but it never presented any interesting flavors to savor; it just bored me. Things picked up later in the movie, and I did like the poignancy of the ending, but I just didn't think it was worth the wait to get there. The trailer makes it look like an edge of your seat thriller it is not. Collapse

See all 15 User Reviews

Trailers