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Homicide (The Criterion Collection)

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In David Mamet’s cinema, nothing is as it seems—so you better know what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the protagonist of Mamet’s nightmarish urban odyssey Homicide, inner-city police detective Bobby Gold (Joe Mantegna), is as bewildered about who he is as who (or what) he’s after. Gold’s investigation, following the murder of an elderly Jewish candy-shop owner, leads him down a path of obscure encounters and clues, as well as profound reckoning with his own self and identity. Filled with Mamet’s trademark verbal play and featuring standout supporting performances from William H. Macy, Ving Rhames, and Rebecca Pidgeon, Homicide is a taut, rich work from a true American original.

Special Features

Audio Commentary with David Mamet and William H. Macy
Interviews with Recurring Mamet Actors
New, restored high-definition digital transfer - by editor Barbara Tulliver
Gag Reel and TV Spots
A Booklet Featuring an Essay by Critic Stuart Klawans

Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, Ving Rhames
  • Directors: David Mamet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002E01M8I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,685 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Homicide (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Eat The Rich Books on March 11, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Some David Mamet films have incredible notoriety amongst the literate set (Glengarry Glen Ross, Oleanna, House of Games). His 2 Oscar noms (Wag the Dog, The Verdict) as well as his non-nominated script for The Untouchables have him firmly established with Hollywood's power base as well.
For my money, the oft-overlooked Homicide is a true Mamet gem--startling in its genius.
Put simply, Homicide is a revealing look at a man's journey into himself. Many will be distracted by the subject matter and tune out, but try to hang on.
Joe Mantegna's Bobby Gold is a tough cop who denies his Jewish lineage, until a low priority murder investigation into an aged Holocast survivor forces him to re-evaluate his entire existence. The resulting destruction of the man is cruel and never-ending,...and brilliant.
William H. Macy, an until-now bit player, gets a well-deserved promotion to #2 man among the strong supporting cast as Gold's partner and sounding board.
The intricacies of the plot, the subtleties of the subtext, as well as the perfunctory Mamet attention to detail may mean a second, or third look is necessary for the viewer to get straight with what's going on------- but take the time, if you can, it just keeps getting better and better.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Alley on June 18, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I too, like many of the other reviewers, am tired of viewing my old and worn VHS version of this movie. This is one of a very few movies I absolutely MUST have in DVD.

A 1991 film, "Homicide" opened the careers of two very important stars: William H. Macy, and Ving Rhames. A very under-rated and seldom-seen Joe Mantegna stars as Detective Bobby Gold, who works for an unstated northeastern police department that looks every bit like Baltimore PD.

The department is after the killer of two cops. The FBI attempts to arrest the suspected killer (in a wonderfully understated, quiet but efficient initial scene) but manages to let him vanish. The heat is on the mayor's office and politics rage. Det. Gold is called a "kike" by one of the mayor's black handlers. In the process of tracking down the cops' killer, Gold manages to get himself involved in the homicide of an older Jewish woman killed in her store. Was she the target of everyday thugs, or the mark of someone continuing the Jewish pogrom?

"We'll bust this big criminal; we'll swagger around." And William H. Macy gives an award winning smile.

From there, all is not as it seems. When Det. Gold begins to investigate all that he believes, he discovers, at the end, that all is, in fact, nothing but irony.

And because I am in law enforcement I know, emphatically, that that which you thought was one thing may, in fact, be clearly another. Something that you never anticipated -- but your mind must be open to receive -- has come to fruition.

This movie is ALL about irony. I'll not be the spoiler. But it is also about dialogue (any Mamet movie is not unlike any Howard Hawks movie -- THAT distinctive a discernation about dialogue!).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on September 10, 2009
Format: DVD
Homicide is a rather odd entry in the cop film genre as it features a Jewish police detective forced to come to terms with his own faith - albeit filtered through David Mamet's uncompromising view of the world. It is not an easy film to pin down which may explain why it's not as celebrated as other Mamet films like House of Games - Criterion Collection or The Spanish Prisoner but it deserves to be ranked right up there with his best efforts. For years, Homicide has largely been available on VHS and now, thanks to the nice folks at the Criterion Collection, it is finally available on DVD.

There is an audio commentary by writer/director David Mamet and actor William H. Macy. Mamet points out that many of the actors playing cops worked with him during his early days in Chicago theater. Macy says that this was his first major role in a film and talks about how his style of acting changed when he met Mamet. The filmmaker talks about the origins of the project and how it started as a book but after hanging out with his cousin - a New York City cop - it gradually turned into a screenplay. These guys banter back and forth like the old friends that they are on this highly enjoyable track.

"Invent Nothing, Deny Nothing" features five Mamet regulars talking about their experiences with the filmmaker and their work on Homicide. Joe Mantegna says that many Mamet protagonists pursue excellence and that this was his take on Bobby Gold. He also describes Mamet's dialogue as hyper-real.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Miller VINE VOICE on September 16, 2009
Format: DVD
Here is David Mamet's third film as a director, a film I had never heard of until The Criterion Collection announced plans to release it recently. Here's a film that, even with it's title, presents itself as a murder-mystery. It's this false presentation that will leave many viewers when they realize it's a character study masquerading as a murder-mystery. Yes, because when it's over, you realize the film's main character is much more of a mystery than anything else going on.

Joe Mantegna plays Robert Gold, a hostage negotiator/detective working in the homicide squad. En route to investigate a big case, Gold happens on the scene of a homicide. An elderly Jewish woman has been murdered. Gold doesn't have much time for this case, despite being Jewish himself but, much to his dismay, he's taken off the big case and assigned to investigate the homicide of the elderly woman.

This synopsis does give the impression of a pretty straight-forward detective story, but what Mamet puts his focus on is instead the internal conflict of the character. Gold is Jewish and should have some strong feelings about the elderly woman's murder, but he's a policeman first and a Jew last. It's this inability to put his priorities in perspective that forms the core of this story. Make no mistake about it though...This internal conflict is not explored in subtle terms. Mamet is rather heavy-handed with it.

There are some great performances here though, especially by Mantegna. This performance makes me question how Mantegna never became a big marquee-name. His performance is masterful in the way he captures the inner turmoil of the Gold character. Not just any actor could pull off the role. William H. Macy is good too as Gold's partner Tim Sullivan.
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