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Festivale online magazine, February, 1998; movie reviews

Mad City

"a good story is never a tragedy to a reporter"

A big city investigative reporter (Dustin Hoffman) is exiled to the sticks where he becomes involved in a hostage situation. A dismissed museum guard (John Travolta) is trying to get his job back at the end of a gun. Add national coverage and a ruthless network anchor (Alan Alda) and you have a crisis of conscience, and desperation and multimedia megabucks vampirism.

Just when you thought it was safe to get on with your life ... we discover that even the quiet little guy with a normal life can end up on the wrong end of a media frenzy.

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movie poster, Mad City, Festivale film review

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Providing one of Travolta's more interesting roles, Mad City is the story of a simple man who cannot cope with what he sees as an unjust dismissal.

Mad City examines the plight of wage slaves, the workers whose lives are at the mercy of executive decisions. When a guard is dismissed from a museum, he returns with a shotgun in an attempt to make the museum director (Blythe Danner) take him seriously. His attempt misfires, literally, and he finds himself with hostages, including a group of children.

Unbeknowst to him, an aggressive journalist (Dustin Hoffman) is in the Gents and the world is quickly informed. A media feeding frenzy ensues.

The complicity of members of the media in creating crises out of incidents is portrayed here, together with the personal toll they take on the people involved in the situations they cover. As a journo this reviewer is happy to see that the sensation-junkies are put up on screen, although it isn't likely to change it. If Princess Di's death can't stop the sensationalists, what will?

See also: Diana and Me

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Title: Mad City(1997)
Written by: Eric Williams, Tom Matthews
Directed by: Costa-Gavras
Produced by: Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson, Jonathan Krane, Wolfgang Glattes, Stephen Brown
Edited by: Francoise Bonno
Director of Photography: Patrick Blossier

The Players: Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Alan Alda, Blythe Danner, Robert Prosky
See: Official site
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.
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Festivale Online Magazine
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1998 All rights reserved
Filed: 29-Dec-1997 : Last updated: : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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