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Homicide (The Criterion Collection)


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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002E01M8I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,014 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Homicide (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ted VINE VOICE on 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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2011
Format: DVD
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. So I remembered this film, which I saw when it first came out, and since it had one of the stars of the current tv show, I thought I'd watch it to compare.

Well, what a revelation. First and foremost, what a difference a first rate script, written by master playwright and screenwriter David Mamet, makes to our understanding of a subject like homicide. Second, pair master actors with such a screenplay, like Mantegna, Macey and Rhames, just to name a few, and watch true magic unfold.

This work is so complex that you are thinking long after of how many killings actually took place. There are the ones that are clearly homicides in the traditional sense of someone being shot and killed by someone else. Then there are far more interesting killings which occur because of the sheer nature of evil and its crazy cousin, happenstance. Thus, things like a broken gun holster which a cop never gets around to repairing assumes critical importance. Or a meeting at a specified time which one has forgotten about which involved preserving someone's life. Or one's apartness from the pack being honed in on as a weakness by a different pack of predators. Packs of predators and prey roam the streets in Mamet's work and they range from Israeli linked American Jew terrorists to denizens of black ghettos to the cops themselves.

I can see why this film is part of the Criterion collection, in short, and why a tv show like CRIMINAL MINDS never will be.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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