David Mamet’s first-rate writing and boldly idiosyncratic directing redeem this story of a toughened Jewish cop torn between two worlds. Homicide presents an urban hell in which stoic survivor Bobby Gold (Joe Mantegna) must negotiate through rotten politics, unpredictable violence and virulent racial tension just to get through a day of police work.
Gold sees a chance to regain his enthusiasm when he becomes a key player in a team effort to bring in a cop killer who’s eluded the FBI. But he’s callously reassigned to a routine investigation of an elderly Jewish woman shot down in her candy store in a black ghetto.
To the disgust of his cynical Irish partner (William H. Macy), Gold gets caught up in the family’s claims that they are targets of a deep-rooted and violent anti-Semitic con- spiracy. When his fellow cops need him to help bring down the killer, he’s busy with initiation rites into his new sect.
Mamet’s direction gives much of the film a bracing, refreshing tone as he works to express the shattering tensions of Gold’s work.
Excellent work by Mantegna does much to enlist sympathies and interest. Macy is also strong as the flinty partner.