It’s all about self-preservation, Jimmy. Something you never learned (A Stranger Among US, 1992)

I’m somehow familiar with Sidney Lumet drama since I watched his TV series 100 Centre Street, cheaply named Tribunal Central in France. Über-realistic, looking like a documentary, it shows you all the tricks and loopholes most TV-shows/movies about Justice avoid to mention or have no clue about. I’ve seen nothing like it since, and not seen it in a while (not available at all – nothing on the web, nothing in shops), except The Wire obviously. So it led me to watch A Stranger Among Us despite poor reviews. Like in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, there’s jewellery and low-life thugs, like in Serpico, you get unpolished police.

First, I’d like to say I was quite happy to find here James Gandolfini/Tony Soprano with his typical mafioso attitude :A Stranger Among Us

So the story is about this policeman police person who investigates a homicide perpetrated in a hassidic jewellery. The plot does not really matter much : I had a hunch about the culprit(s) at 00:56 out of this 01:50 movie ; I had certainty at 01:13, proven right afterwards. Like in others Lumet’s productions, there’s not much action but lot of talks – and it’s not boring, you sit there watching characters playing together, trying to reach out :A Stranger Among Us

A dialog like the following, while overly simple, says much:
A Stranger Among Us

– I was worried about you. You left without saying good-bye.
– My mother left my father without saying good-bye. You know why? She couldn’t stand sleeping with a cop. She said it made him angry… and that he took it out on her. You think that’s what’s gonna happen to me… some guy telling me that I’m too angry… too hard?

I won’t dispute critics who states that actors performances are not astonishing. But, in my opinion, it has no negative effect on the capacity of the movie to create a vivid atmosphere. It’s credible to me and believe me, it is not an usual feeling. I mentioned The Wire before: if you top this kind of movie with great and credible actors, you’d probably get it.

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