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Homicide (The Criterion Collection) (1991)

Joe Mantegna , William H. Macy , David Mamet  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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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 (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002E01M8I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,095 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Homicide (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Film Given Criterion Treatment! September 10, 2009
By Cubist
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. Steve Goldstein describes Mamet as a generous director and talks about the filmmaker's take on acting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, intriguing, and incredible December 9, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

Homicide, written and directed by David Mamet, is about a Jewish policeman, Bobby Gold, who is uninterested in Judaism. Later he runs into a crime scene where an elderly Jewish woman is murdered in a black neighborhood. A local rumor that she had "a fortune" hidden in her basement is the established motive. When the woman's son arrives, he requests that detective Gold takes the case as he feels that a Jew would do the job better. He later interviews them at their home and eventually discovers evidence that leads to another more strong possible motive for the killing. I don't want to say anything else as this film has many plot twists and surprises.

The film is really well made, with plot twists that are on par with Shyamalan's early hits. The acting is good with Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy in the lead roles and includes character actors such as card trick magician, Ricky Jay.

The DVD also includes audio commentary by David Mamet and William H. Macy, interviews with various actors in the film who Mamet frequently casts, a blooper reel, and TV spots.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story - but the execution misses the mark August 13, 2010
By Fenwick
Format:DVD
First off, I want to say that I simply could not agree more with the review written by Glenn Gallagher, but I think his 3 star rating is a bit too high.

I really enjoy some of David Mamet's work and was thrilled to find a Criterion release of one of his films that I had never heard of before.

I went into this so excited. David Mamet - Joe Mantegna - William Macy - Ving Rhames in a movie exploring a crime and dealing with issues of faith. How could have I never heard of this before?

Unfortunately the dialogue on this movie is very heavy handed and many times comes across literally like people are reading from a script for a play, (especially when Macy and Mantegna are in the car driving together). It is jarring, bizarre and frankly distracting. As the aformentioned reviewer mentioned before, no one talks to each like that in real life. I suppose if the entire movie was made/written this way, that would be one thing. But the jumping back and forth between "is this a movie/is this a play" takes away from the momentum.

MINI-SPOLIER ALERT

Also, Mantegna's character almost instanteously makes a leap from not caring about his heritage to caring, nearly at the drop of a hat. Why the sudden change? It's not exactly like the folks who won him over did so by digging deep and engaging in many stirring conversations. They literally just asked him who he really was a couple of times and Whammo - insta-conversion to the cause. Next thing you know Mantegna's character is willing to firebomb buildings. Huh? Just not enough meat on those bones for me to buy into the conversion. Sorry.

END SPOILER

Any way, seeing how many folks have had this film resonate with them, I don't imagine this review will be a very popular one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great film!!
Published 7 days ago by jerry duckery
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really thoughtful drama, with lots of character. A murder investigation that turns into self-examination of belief and motives.
Published 1 month ago by Berigan Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Give Life to Murder
One of Mamet's very best. Mantegna and Macy are at their best in this gritty, complicated crime flick. Will have you on the edge of your seat.
Published 2 months ago by Sanford Lord
5.0 out of 5 stars Great "Hidden" Gem of a Mamet Film
Very few know about this art-house film. Mamet plays his usual shenanigans and this time he goes after a Jewish cops' inability to reconcile his identity, his faith, and his roots,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Karl J. Valentine
4.0 out of 5 stars Mamet is the man!
Excellent David Mamet film! Better than House of Cards but not as good as Glengarry Glenn Ross! Joe Montegna is good as always!
Published 10 months ago by ShoGunslinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the mind is the slave of emotions for the hold it has on your...
Mind, reasoning mind serves detectives. Detectives serve their bosses often in seeming low level cases. Read more
Published 15 months ago by minorwork
2.0 out of 5 stars For Wannabe Movie Loving Losers Only.
Viewed: 11/12
Rate: 3

11/12: After seeing and being impressed with House of Games, I went to The Spanish Prisoner and liked it too. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Austin Somlo
4.0 out of 5 stars perfectly good transfer
No matter what movie comes on on DVD, somebody is going to say, "Horrible DVD, like a VHS, horrible quality DVD."

This transfer is excellent. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Doreen Appleton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Script
that really makes you sympathize with this Jewish homicide cop caught in two different worlds yet alien to both. Read more
Published 23 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Compare this to Present Day CRIMINAL MINDS
I have been winding down on enjoying the tv show CRIMINAL MINDS because it just doesn't seem to have the dramatic gravitas something like that should. Read more
Published on November 19, 2011 by carol irvin
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