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Mad City

Mad City ★★½ 1997 (PG-13)

Outofwork security guard Sam Baily (Travolta) goes postal, taking hostages in a museum while has-been journalist Max Brackett (Hoffman) manages to exploit Baily and hype the situation into a massive broadcast news event. The media circus that ensues provides social commentary on the questionable state of journalism. Drawing from famously explored material in numerous older films (“Network” and “All the President's Men”) the subject is also enjoying a revival in current films (“Primary Colors” and “Wag the Dog”). Relationship between Max and Sam carries most interest in CostaGravas' intense drama, while uneven tone and script inadequacies hold back satisfying story development. Talented supporting cast (Alda, Danner, Kirshner, Prosky) have little to do. 114m/C VHS, DVD . John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Mia Kirshner, Alan Alda, Blythe Danner, Robert Prosky, William Atherton, Ted Levine, Bill Nunn; D: Constantin Costa-Gavras; W: Tom Matthews; C: Patrick Blossier; M: Thomas Newman.

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