City of Hope

Watch City of Hope

"Welcome to the American city. You buy your way in and you fight your way out. Who says it's a free country?"
  • R
  • 1991
  • 2 hr 9 min
  • 7.3  (2,700)

City of Hope is a 1991 film that showcases the crime and corruption of an unnamed city in New Jersey. Written and directed by John Sayles, the movie follows the lives of several characters who are struggling to survive in the midst of urban decay and political turmoil. The main thread that ties the story together is a construction project that promises to bring new life to the city. However, it becomes evident early on that the project is tainted by corruption and backroom deals. The developers are happy to pay off politicians and bureaucrats in order to see their plans approved, while the workers on the ground get the short end of the stick.

One of the central characters in the movie is Nick Rinaldi (played by Vincent Spano). He is a bright young man who wants to make a career in politics, but ends up working for his father's construction company instead. Nick is torn between his desire to do the right thing and his loyalty to his family. As he becomes more involved in the corrupt construction project, he starts to see the ugly reality of the city he calls home.

Another key figure in the movie is Vincent Lo Bianco, who plays Joe Ciavarra, a police detective who is investigating a murder that may be linked to the construction project. Ciavarra is a hard-nosed cop who tries to play by the rules, but finds the system stacked against him. He is constantly battling corruption and bureaucracy, and trying to do what's right in a city that seems to have lost its moral compass.

As the story unfolds, we are introduced to a number of other characters who are struggling to survive in the city. There's Spooky (played by David Strathairn), a small-time criminal who just wants to make a quick buck; Wynn (Joe Morton), a newspaper reporter who is trying to expose the corruption and injustice in the city; and Angela (Barbara Williams), a singer who is trying to make it big despite the odds.

Despite the bleakness of the subject matter, there is a sense of hope that runs through the movie. The characters are flawed and often make mistakes, but they are all trying to do the right thing in their own way. They are each fighting for their own version of the American Dream, even if they don't always know what that looks like.

The performances in City of Hope are top-notch. Vincent Spano brings a quiet intensity to his role as Nick, while Tony Lo Bianco is brilliant as the world-weary detective. David Strathairn steals every scene he's in as the street-smart Spooky, and Joe Morton is solid as the crusading journalist. The supporting cast is equally strong, with memorable turns by Stephen Mendillo, Gina Gershon, and others.

Director John Sayles has a real knack for capturing the gritty reality of urban life, and he does so with great skill in City of Hope. The movie is shot in a naturalistic style that feels almost documentary-like at times. Sayles' script is nuanced and layered, full of sharp dialogue and insightful characterizations.

Overall, City of Hope is a powerful and thought-provoking movie that deserves more attention than it has received over the years. It's a film that captures the complexity of urban life, and the struggle to do what's right in a world that often seems stacked against us. If you're a fan of gritty, socially conscious cinema, this is a must-see movie.

City of Hope is a 1991 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.

City of Hope
Where to Watch City of Hope
City of Hope is available to watch free on Pluto TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent City of Hope for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 9 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (2,700)