Taxman

A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn's Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped "Taxman." The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should be its first port of call.

With:
Al Benjamin - Joe Pantoliano
Joseph Romero - Wade Dominguez
Nadia - Elizabeth Berkley

A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should be its first port of call.

While following a suspected tax evader, Al Benjamin (Joe Pantoliano) stumbles across a number of bloody murders. He pursues the case against the wishes of the police department and his boss in the tax office, with the unsolicited aid of rookie cop Joseph Romero (Wade Dominguez.) Comically inept, the pair wind up fraternizing with a boss of Brighton Beach’s Russian immigrant community and his beautiful, oddly available daughter, Nadia (Elizabeth Berkley.) They laboriously convince a state prosecutor to look into the case, but much screen time later, they still haven’t nailed Mr. Big. That is saved for the action ending, a foot chase around the streets of Brooklyn.

A kind of anti-police-film movie, “Taxman” makes a heavy-handed attempt to fly above genre stereotypes, but fails to find a credible alternative. Most of the time it seems like a failed comedy, exulting in its grungy locales, tacky dialogue and a Marlowe-style voiceover that’s much less funny than it’s meant to be.

It’s a good thing helmer Avi Nesher and Roger Berger’s script so frequently pits Pantoliano and Dominguez against each other in silly squabbles, because it helps to mask the total lack of chemistry between the two actors. Pantoliano is particularly grating as the neurotically aggressive tax man who screws up everything he touches. Dominguez is irritatingly passive in the role of his sycophantic sidekick. Whatever would bring these two people together? The beautiful Berkley adds a few minutes of relief as the Russian girl ready to do anything to help her dad, even a tryst with unpleasant Al. Or is it love?

Taxman

Production: A Counterclock Pictures production in association with Open City Films. (International sales: Kushner-Locke Intl.) Produced by Avi Nesher, Kathy Jordan. Executive producer, Pascal Borno. Co-producers, Joana Vicente, Jason Kliot. Directed by Avi Nesher. Screenplay, Nesher, Roger Berger.

Crew: Camera (color), Jim Denault; editor, Alexander Hall; music, Roger Neill; production designer, Michael Krantz; costume designer, Carolyn Grifel; sound (Dolby stereo), Robert Ghiraldini. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 14, 1998. Running time: 116 MIN.

With: Al Benjamin - Joe Pantoliano
Joseph Romero - Wade Dominguez
Nadia - Elizabeth Berkley
With: Michael Chiklis, Robert Townsend.

More Film

  • Korea's Gang Dong-won to Star in

    Korea's Gang Dong-won to Star in Simon West’s ‘Tsunami LA’

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

  • Korea Box Office: 'Steel Rain' Defeats

    Korea Box Office: 'Steel Rain' Defeats 'Star Wars' to Dominate Weekend

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

  • netflix-the-little-prince

    Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam's ON Kids & Family

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

  • China Box Office: Local Titles 'Youth'

    China Box Office: Local Titles 'Youth' and 'Dunjia' Dominate Weekend

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Four Reasons Why 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Isn't One for the Ages

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

  • Mark Hamill and Ted Cruz Get

    Mark Hamill and Ted Cruz Get in Net Neutrality-Related Twitter Fight

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

  • 'Ethel & Ernest' Review

    Film Review: 'Ethel & Ernest'

    A frustrated Jewish tax investigator teams with a frustrated Puerto Rican cop to solve a case involving Brooklyn’s Jewish Russian Mafia in the ethnically over-pumped “Taxman.” The complicated scam they uncover is an excuse for characters to vent their heroic aspirations and human failings in this would-be noir thriller with slapstick undertones. Video markets should […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content