Posted by Solomon on 2/4/2017, 6:17 pm
I enjoyed it. I enjoy almost any movie, however. I rarely wield a poison pen on films, but I do quite often attempt to pinpoint a movie's faults. This one lacks emotional impact. If I really were to get picky, I'd say that they didn't even get their movie posters right. In the bar in the film, there's a Bogart poster, and it mentions Lizabeth Scott, so this is "Dead Reckoning", which is wrong for what this movie is about. They might have chosen "Petrified Forest". Also, the camera lingers too long on half of this poster as if to hammer it in. Another one in the background is "G-Men" which adds nothing to the message. They might have used "The Desperate Hours".
Gang of three very different kinds of men takes over a bar
Author: msroz from United States
4 February 2017
"Albino Alligator" (1996) is a neo-noir (as listed by John Grant). A noir predecessor of this type of story would be "Dial 1119" (1950). Going back further, we'd have "The Petrified Forest" (1936). In these stories, a man (or men) threaten innocents, virtual hostages, in a confined space or area.
The story in this case has a very clever innovation. A gang of three men takes cover in a basement bar after a failed burglary. The police arrive and surround the place, but they are looking for a different criminal who is in that place. The gang of three doesn't know this initially. This complication creates interesting situations when the gang members try to bargain with the police and when they face a possible attack by police in force.
The movie isn't bad but it doesn't live up to the potential of the story. The screenplay lacks sophistication and character development of about everyone. The exterior scenes with Joe Mantegna go mostly nowhere. The direction, working with a script with weaknesses, doesn't make the film gel into a powerful story. The acting of the cast, which is a very impressive group, cannot lift the movie from the other drags upon it. William Fichtner, who grew up in nearby Cheektowaga, is first-rate as the sociopath with a violent streak. Gary Sinise is laid back, fitting his character and his being wounded. This diminishes his potential in the film. He's supposed to make an emotional impact but he really doesn't. Faye Dunaway plays a character hard to understand. Matt Dillon is the major presence as gang leader. The challenge of filling in this part with a real character is a bit too much for him, but it looks to me that he didn't get good guidance from the script or director. That criticism seems to me to apply to the whole cast, because the acting appears mostly too tentative or too extreme, going to the other side.
The story builds up to a point where it makes a statement about families. This should have been powerful, but it lacks punch. It builds up to a moral choice that must be made by Faye Dunaway, and this too should have been really powerful; but it's buried. Director Kevin Spacey had trouble bringing out the emotional elements that are present in the story.