Watch City by the Sea
- 1 hr 48 min
In the 2002 crime drama City by the Sea, Robert De Niro stars as Vincent LaMarca, a veteran homicide detective with the NYPD who gets drawn into a personal and professional crisis when he investigates a murder case that's uncomfortably close to home. James Franco co-stars as Joey, Vincent's estranged son, who's been living a troubled life and winds up a prime suspect in the killing. Based on a true story, City by the Sea takes place in Long Beach, New York, a gritty seaside town that's seen better days. Vincent is a no-nonsense cop who's seen it all over the years, but this case hits a nerve for him. The victim is a young drug dealer named Spyder (played by William Forsythe), who Vincent used to know when he was a kid. Vincent's own father was also a notorious criminal who abandoned him and his mother when he was a child, leaving Vincent to grow up in foster homes and eventually join the police force to make a better life for himself. As Vincent investigates Spyder's murder, he discovers that Joey might be involved in the crime. Joey, who's now in his twenties, has been struggling with drug addiction and petty crime for years, but Vincent has tried to stay out of his life. As the case unfolds, Vincent finds himself torn between his professional duty to catch the killer and his personal loyalty to his son, whom he hasn't seen in years. When the evidence starts to point towards Joey, Vincent is forced to confront his own past and his hopes for the future. Frances McDormand plays Michelle, Vincent's long-time girlfriend and a nurse who works with addicts. Michelle tries to keep Vincent from getting too emotionally involved in the case, but she also understands the pain he's going through. Vincent's partner on the case is Reg (George Dzundza), a grizzled veteran who's seen plenty of bad things in his time. Reg keeps Vincent focused on the task at hand, but also knows when to give him space. As City by the Sea unfolds, it becomes a study of the complex relationships between fathers and sons, mentors and proteges, and cops and criminals. Vincent has to grapple with his own conflicting feelings towards Joey, as well as his memories of his own father. Joey, for his part, is caught between his loyalty to his drug-dealing friends and his need for something better in life. Despite the tensions between them, Vincent and Joey share a bond that goes beyond just blood ties. The film, directed by Michael Caton-Jones, is a moody and atmospheric thriller that draws heavily on the bleak, urban landscape of its setting. The Long Beach boardwalk, with its deserted amusements and abandoned storefronts, becomes a symbol of the fading dreams of its inhabitants. De Niro gives a typically powerful performance as Vincent, conveying the character's internal struggle with nuance and depth. Franco, too, is excellent as Joey, bringing a mix of vulnerability and defiance to the role. McDormand and Dzundza provide solid support, as does Forsythe in a brief but memorable turn as the ill-fated Spyder. Overall, City by the Sea is a gripping, character-driven drama that explores the dark side of human nature and the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. It's a story that will stick with you long after the credits roll.