WARNING: DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS
I was impatient until the final credits ran up my screen; I just had to find out who were the masterminds behind the writing and direction. To see that it was just one person was beyond belief.
I am dumbfounded for words. I would like to begin by saying this movie may be justified by a fabulous 4 stars. “City Island” went over the radars and has escaped me for over 2 years. Finally I took the time to grab a copy and sat myself to enjoy it. Was I entertained? The more precise answer would be that I was moved by the genius and the intuition of the concentrated efforts by the writer/ director Raymond De Felitta.
Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) a correctional officer/prison guard along with his wife Joyce (Julianna Moargulies) and kids’ live just out of the city of New York on City Island. Every family has their own secrets. Some are well hidden and some not so much. Vince stumbles upon a long avoided secret; his son who happens to be a convicted villain for GTA. Vince in an attempt to get to know his son with permission brings him as a guest to his house. All hell breaks loose when passion sparks between Joyce & step son Tony (Steven Strait). Event after event rolls out until the grand finale and the revealing of the big bag of secrets. The Rizzo Pandora’s Box if I may!
What should I take my jab at on this piece? Direction? Writing? Or Acting? I am so confused since I want to do just by all. Since everything was magnificent!
I would not remove nor replace a single cast member. The casting directors have premeditated the script at length and has slammed the nail on the head and driven it through. Every aspect of the movie was felt by the audience; even to the least gullible movie critic this production will appeal. The family created was within the realms of commons, none was beyond or none was fictional at any given point. There were no individual spotlights. Each cast member had a very specific role to carry out and each role was powerful in its own contribution towards the climax. It was like being at the opera for me. YES! I have been to one! Each member was an instrument, which tweaked each moment of the movie. Not all came out strong or heavy at once, each character grew at its pace and came together for the ultimate crescendo and grand finale. Garcias performance may the only one that may be considered a cut above, purely since his character builds all the way to the scene on the street where he literally falls and so does his character. A man in denial falls before acceptance. Genius work! Sheer Genius!
Raymond De Felitta, the name may not be as house-hold as Micheal Bay nor Spielberg. His talent is none lesser than them. A New Yorker, with just 6 titles to his name as a director, shows us that, talent does not essentially require 20 years of experience in cinema. I need to make myself very clear on the statement made. With experience it is obvious that one will always become better at what one does. However how do I define one that achieves the same rate of success as a fairly inexperienced director who gives the end product that could stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the greats? I would not consider the gentleman a genius, but I would consider him talented as the greats minus the experience. What De Felitta envisioned whilst writing this fabulous movie, he has 100% done justice in its direction. A directorial is never easy especially when a movie is paced as slow as “City Island”. However he succeeds to maintain its flow within the viewer’s span of attention. This is one element that enhances his directorial techniques. A commendable effort J
Although “City Island” did not get any mentions for any awards that mattered, its success story should not be overlooked. Sometime certain movies do not have what it takes to make themselves felt, also at times, they have all what it takes but still fails. The latter would be the ideal explanation for “City Island”. A production for a more mature and a serious audience. You have got to make sure you don’t miss out on the great Rizzo family Pandora’s Box!
Title: City Island
Directed by: Raymond De Felitta
Starring: Andy Garcia, Julianna Moargulies & Steven Strait
Rated: PG13 for sexual content, smoking & Language