Mad City

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Released 1997

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Movie Summary

Director:
Unknown
Released:
1997
Rating:
PG-13
Mad City is a 1997 drama about a blue-collar man who takes a group of people hostage after losing his job. After being laid off as a museum security guard, Sam Baily (John Travolta) comes back to work heavily armed and takes his former boss and a group of children hostage. Television personality Max Brackett (Dustin Hoffman) happens to be in the museum at the same time and begins serving as Baily's liaison to the police. With the assistance of his intern, Laurie Callahan (Mia Kirshner), Brackett also begins reporting on Baily's story, drawing sympathy from the public. Eventually, though, the situation starts to deteriorate. First, Baily accidentally shoots another security guard, and then the children become progressively more frightened as Baily starts to exhibit unstable behavior due to exhaustion and stress. He also begins to regret taking hostages since he realizes that he has probably ruined both his life and that of his family.

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    But Mr. Costa-Gavras, a galvanizing filmmaker working with a splendid cast, is able to tell this story in style.

  • 50

    Variety Emanuel Levy

    In actuality, however, what unfolds onscreen is a simplistic and obvious expose about the manipulative power of the news media that by now is so familiar that its cynical perspecti...

  • 30

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Mad City is an example of how enervated polemical filmmaking can become when its plot loses contact with plausibility.

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    Drama