Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A network television journalist is banished to a backwater station for bad behavior on the job. He meets a security guard who got laid off and the two form a bond of mutual need which changes the course of their lives forever. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
  1. But Mr. Costa-Gavras, a galvanizing filmmaker working with a splendid cast, is able to tell this story in style.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    Actually, that shift in moral perspective is the freshest thing in the movie--it keeps the action absorbing even when the script keeps hammering us with lessons about the commercial exploitation of the news and TV audiences' craziness and gullibility.
  3. Unfortunately, Mad City merely pumps up the volume on material that has already been picked clean. [07Nov1997 Pg 74]
  4. 50
    The great, and given Costa-Gavras' previous m.o., inevitable irony of Mad City is that even as it condemns the media for exploiting the situation, it's busy doing the very same.
  5. 50
    The absence of originality and inspiration isn't Mad City's only problem -- it also suffers from a shocking lack of subtlety.
  6. 40
    Clearly, there's the germ of a good -- potentially even great -- movie here, but it's thoroughly smothered by a pair of lazy, self-congratulatory star turns by Hoffman and Travolta.
  7. Mad City is for those who haven't seen enough movies about hostage situations. It's also for those who haven't seen enough ponderous movies about media exploitation, or Dustin Hoffman's ongoing reliance on muttery method acting.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. MichaelL.
    Jan 8, 2006
    This is a very well realized and provacative film about the media's involvement in glorifying crime and criminals. Yes, we've heard this beef before, but rarely so articulately and balanced. The lines between good and bad, fair and unfair are masterfully blurred so the viewer is never quite sure whom to root for. I was moved, impressed, and challenged by this film, and applaud Costa Garvas, and his fine cast. Travolta is better than I've ever seen him, Hoffman is at his quirky best. Danner turns a cardboard character into a human being, and Alan Alda continues to do smarmy better than anyone! Ignore the critics--this is a first-rate film. Expand