City by the Sea (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

City by the Sea2002

City by the Sea (2002)



Critic Consensus: Even though the movie is well acted, it sinks under an abundance of melodrama and cliches.

City by the Sea Photos

Movie Info

A man struggling to come to terms with the sins of his father makes the terrible discovery that his own son has fallen into a life of crime in a drama based on a true story. Vincent LaMarca (Robert DeNiro) is a dedicated and well-respected New York City police detective who has gone to great lengths to distance himself from his past; four decades earlier, Vincent's father Angelo killed a young child, and since then Vincent has carried emotional scars from this incident that he refuses to show to the world. Vincent lives alone in a small apartment building, though he has nurtured a close if tentative relationship with his downstairs neighbor, Michelle (Frances McDormand). One day, Vincent and his partner, Reg Duffy (George Dzundza), are assigned to investigate a murder when the body of a young man is found dead in a dumpster. It turns out the body was that of a drug dealer, and the dealer's partner in crime, Spyder (William Forsythe), believes the killer was one of his regular customers -- a junkie would-be musician who calls himself Snake (Brian Tarantina). City By the Sea was adapted from a piece by journalist Mike McAlary which first appeared in Esquire magazine; the cast also includes Eliza Dushku and Anson Mount.

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Robert De Niro
as Det. Vincent La Marca
James Franco
as Joseph `Joey' Nova
George Dzundza
as Reg Duffy
Anson Mount
as Dave Simon
John Doman
as Capt. Henderson
Drena De Niro
as Vanessa Hansen
Linda Emond
as Margery
Leo Burmester
as Lieutenant Katt
Gregg Edelman
as A.P.C. Johnson
Mark La Mura
as Mayor Jackson
Teresa Kelsey
as Reporter Laura
Michael Dellafemina
as Angelo LaMarca
Jim Marcus
as Medical Examiner
Joanne Lamstein
as Screaming Teen
Teresa Woods
as Reporter Carol
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Critic Reviews for City by the Sea

All Critics (145) | Top Critics (42)

Ambitious, improbable and very violent cop drama.

December 22, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It doesn't help that much of City by the Sea plays so precisely lock step in the same order as so many other policiers. It's difficult to muster up much excitement as the film lurches to its pre-ordained conclusion.

June 19, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Sombre, unpretentious and quietly moving.

October 7, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A compendium of clichés about fathers and sons.

September 26, 2002

A film that doesn't just support the action to come, but makes it seem inevitable.

September 11, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

De Niro's workmanlike in a dismayingly familiar role.

September 6, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for City by the Sea

City by the Sea doesn't seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be: the waxy nostalgia for Long Beach undercuts any of the hard crime story it's going for, and the hint at family redemption on the other side of the father-son conflict coin feels contrived; the insistent score reminded me that no one really makes movies this way anymore, which I think is a good thing, and the fact that most of the dialogue is little more than exposition (when it's not characters sappily pleading platitudes to each other) makes a strong argument against trying to please everyone that the film-maker should heed the next time out.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


3 3/4's--I rather liked this for what it's worth. Not a big blockbuster movie. A little slow, but it contains some really good actors...minus William Forsythe. I cringe when I see him in movies. All in all, this was an interesting film, and it was a lot better than I had anticipated. Excellent performances by both De Niro, Franco, and Mc Dormand.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Michael Caton-Jones takes the helm for this low-key crime thriller about a veteran cop named Vincent LaMarca who becomes conflicted when he learns that the latest murder suspect he's after happens to be his estranged son Joey LaMarca, a troubled junkie. Grim, gritty, and a tad grungy, this should be a great movie. It's got nice atmosphere, a decent set up, and a cast that includes Robert De Niro, James Franco, Frances McDormand, William Forsythe, and Eliza Dushku. However, this just kinda falls flat, especially towards the end. It all starts off decently though, but the film ultimately lacks a strong amount of energy and drive, so the potential for greatness gets squandered, and the film just kinda drifts along without much purpose a lot of the time. The performances are decent, though, and I like the location shooting, but in the end, this really isn't strong enough to warrant much of a recommendation. It comes close, though.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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