• Publication date: May 7, 2009

In " City Hall " They Both Handle Crime, Poverty & Urban Politics

Premiered in US theatres in 1996 , " City Hall " is a film that combines the elements of drama and thriller. The film was written by Ken Lipper and Paul Schrader and directed by Harold Becker .

Premiered in US theatres in 1996, "City Hall" is a film that combines the elements of drama and thriller. The film was written by Ken Lipper and Paul Schrader and directed by Harold Becker.

The movie, the runtime of which is 111 minutes, stars Al Pacino as Mayor John Pappas, John Cusack as Kevin Calhoun, Bridget Fonda as Marybeth Cogan, Danny Aiello as Frank Anselmo, Martin Landau as Judge Walter Stern, David Paymer as Abe Goodman, Anthony Franciosa as Paul Zapatti, and Richard Schiff as Larry Schwartz.

To a young idealist like New York City's Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun life is either black or white, but to a veteran politician like Mayor John Pappas the game is played in various shades of gray. Together, they are a formidable team that deftly handles the daily crossfire of crime, poverty and urban politics.

Working in synch like the gears of a finely tuned watch, Pappas and Calhoun broker deals, build coalitions, service the media, raise money, mediate conflict and maintain a popularity for the Mayor's office.

Until the morning when in a shoot-out between a cop and a drug dealer, a stray bullet kills a six year old black child. In that moment, the fabric of "City Hall" begins to unravel, torn by the suspicious events that led to a deadly confrontation between a hero cop and a small-time gangster related to the Mafia chieftain.

Questions arise about what the cop was doing meeting with the gangster in the first place. The Mayor and his staff handle the situation ably, but Calhoun digs deeper and finds troubling evidence that even his seemingly incorruptible boss has not escaped the shadier aspects of political life.

The Mafia boss (Tony Franciosa) whose nephew was the dead gangster, along with a Brooklyn political boss (Danny Aiello) with his own agenda, come into the story, becoming part of a series of larger links, secret relationships, and bonds of "honor" between men who, on the surface, would have no reason to be in business with each other.

Further complicating matters is Marybeth Cogan who represents the widow of the narcotics detective. She is trying to find out why the pension for the cop is being withheld and she brings Calhoun deeper into a scandal that makes him take a second look at what he once took for granted.

"City Hall" was nominated for NCLR Bravo Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film (Lauren V�lez) in 1996.

The film was rated R for language and some violence.

With a production budget of US$ 40 millions, the film was a great box office failure, as its worldwide gross revenues amounted to only US$ 33 millions.