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3.9 out of 5 stars17
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 10 August 2014
Sidney Lumet's "Q & A" is an interesting crime thriller. When a legendary street cop named Brennan (Nick Nolte) shoots a Puerto Rican in a slum doorway, they call in a young Assistant D.A. (Timothy Hutton) to head the investigation.

Hutton begins to suspect that Brennan may have committed murder. His investigation leads him into the lives of people in many different ethnic groups, and he is shocked one day when a Hispanic drug dealer (Armand Assante) walks in with a woman (Jenny Lumet) who Hutton once dated, and still loves.

This is a movie with a large cast, and one of the ways Lumet deals with that is to use experienced actors who exude the traits of their characters. There's Charles Dutton, as a hard-boiled black detective who explains that his real colour is blue - "and when I was in the Army, it was olive drab." There's Luis Guzman as his partner, a Puerto Rican detective who knows and accepts the realities of the streets but has his limits. There's Lee Richardson as an old Jewish lawyer who has high standards and gives wise counsel to Hutton.

Everyone in this movie uses racial and ethnic slang/slurs constantly, and yet, at another level, it is just what it sounds like, a kind of macho name-calling? At some level it's accepted. In Lumet's New York City, the streets are seen as dangerously near to spinning out of control. To the Irish-American chief of the homicide bureau (Patrick O'Neal), that means it is time to close ranks. It's a war out there, he believes, between the cops and the people who would destroy the city (by which he instinctively means Blacks and Hispanics).

Lumet has made other movies about tough big city types (Dog Day Afternoon, Network), but this is the one where he taps into the vibrating awareness of race which is always there, when strangers of different races encounter each other in situations where one has authority and another doesn't.
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on 30 October 2005
This film is definitely dark, both actually and metaphorically. The interior shots are often shot in gloomy interiors or under harsh lighting, in Lumet's trademark style. The exterior shots are overpoweringly glaring by contrast. This serves to point up the darkness of the material and the almost hopeless sense of defeat that the film concludes on.
The film is carried -- driven - by an astonishing performance by Nick Nolte whose physical bulk is emphasised by the camera angles. Nolte's characterisation of the central character of Mike Brennan is superb -- the need to be centre of attention, the casual domination of his colleagues, even the over-emphasis of the droopy moustache as a contribution to the shape of the character. Nolte is menace personified: a swaggering bully; a hair-trigger temper wrapped in apparent bonhomie; the alpha male in the pack; generous with his friendship as long as unquestioning loyalty comes in return. All the other characters pale in the face of this bravura display of acting.
This is an excellent film carrying all Lumet's trademark philosophical baggage: the individual (good or bad) standing out against society's flow; a distorted sense of loyalty and honour that leads to doom; wrong dealing in high places; the corruptness of authority. it is probably one of his best and deserves more attantion than it receives.
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on 12 January 2016
A very gritty film. I like all the subplots: informants, drug dealings, gays and prostitutes, the corrupt chief of homicide that is using Lieutenant Brennan to cover up his criminal past. All the subplots play a part and are important to the story.

There is also the matter of the Lieutenant's colleagues at the police station.
Over the course of the film, they all discover that their Lieutenant 'Mike' is extremely corrupt and that they must bring him in.
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on 15 November 2005
This is an uncompromising ballsy rollercoaster ride of a movie. A real heavyweight the likes of which they don't really make anymore. This was a great story on paper and Lumet's directoral style animates it with gusto, as do fierce performances from Nolte and Assante. Everybody should see this film.
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on 4 January 2013
i have been after this movie for a while i first saw it about 20 years ago, prob, nick noltes and timothy huttons best peformances although it didnt get good reviews at the time,but what do critics know? if your looking for a good thriller about corrupt cops this is as good as any, i would suggest this movie to anyone...enjoy
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on 12 September 2015
Not a Nolte fan but this film is very good.
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on 19 August 2013
I first watched this film 21 years ago, and I was struck by its gritty script and setting. It hasn't lost much of its punch now, even in a world that is far more used to stronger content in films and TV. A good plot, an obligatory dollop of police corruption and possibly a lifetime best (if slightly over-the-top) performance from Nick Nolte adds up to a good crime movie. Certainly not trendsetting or cutting edge, but just left of centre enough to avoid being another dreary police procedural drama.
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on 10 March 2013
Although its been out a while i have never seen it before. I liked it! Of course i realise that any opinion. is purely personal! Film arrived very quickly so top marks all round.
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on 21 November 2012
This is one of those films where you are rooting for the 'bad guy'. Sure Brennan is a rogue cop...but for (all) the right reasons. How many of us have witnessed the evil people getting away with their crimes and wishing there was a 'John Wayne' character that would put an end to them. Brennan is that guy. However, 'evil' is not allowed to triumph and Brennan is eventually stopped, much to the detriment of New York. Powerful performances all round in a movie the likes of which they have stopped making for pc reasons. The same movie today would have to have a female lead (god help us).
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on 14 May 2015
Could have been much more with the excellent cast and acting but was much more of a damp squid than a great film...
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