By Mr. Cairene on June 3, 2001
No one joins the police force to become a bad guy. That is why Lumet, whose films are basically about the subjectivity of right and wrong, is fascinated with cops. They are not gangsters, who, as depicted in Scorsese's Goodfellas, are more about the money and "the life" than a mythical code of honor. For cops (even those who beat protestors or torture prisoners around the world) there has been, in most cases, a point where they justified their actions. In Prince of The City, Lumet affords all his characters, including the tens of government lawyers, an unfeigned authenticity that makes every scene in the film riveting. For every odious act performed against, or by a cop (or even a lawyer), there's an underlying moral position. The moral complexity of Lumet's best work lies in the assumption that pure evil does not exist.