Kiss of Death (1995 film)
|Kiss of Death|
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Barbet Schroeder|
|Produced by||Susan Hoffman
|Written by||Ben Hecht
Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||Trevor Jones|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release dates||April 21, 1995 (US)|
|Running time||101 minutes|
|Box office||$14,942,422 (domestic)|
The film is a very loosely based remake of the 1947 film noir classic of the same name that starred Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, and Richard Widmark. It was screened out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. Like the original Kiss of Death, the film was released by 20th Century Fox.
Jimmy Kilmartin is an ex-con living in Astoria in the New York City borough of Queens, trying to stay clean and raising a family with his wife Bev. But when his cousin Ronnie causes him to take a fall for driving an illegal transport of stolen cars, a police officer named Calvin Hart is injured and Jimmy lands back in prison. In exchange for an early release, he is asked to help bring down a local crime boss named Little Junior Brown.
Jimmy's wife is killed in a car accident and his cousin Ronnie is beaten to death by Little Junior. With Jimmy still refusing to testify or "name names," years pass in Sing Sing without an early release. By the time Jimmy finally agrees to work with District Attorney Frank Zioli, his daughter barely knows him.
Jimmy remarries and attempts to renew a relationship with his child. But he is sent undercover by Detective Hart to work with Junior and infiltrate his operations. As soon as Little Junior kills an undercover federal agent with Jimmy watching, the unscrupulous district attorney and the feds further complicate his life. He must take down Junior or face the consequences.
- David Caruso – Jimmy Kilmartin
- Samuel L. Jackson – Detective Calvin Hart
- Nicolas Cage – Little Junior Brown
- Helen Hunt – Bev Kilmartin
- Ving Rhames – Omar
- Stanley Tucci – D.A. Frank Zioli
- Philip Baker Hall – Big Junior Brown
- Kathryn Erbe – Rosie Kilmartin
- Michael Rapaport – Ronnie Gannon
- Anthony Heald – Jack Gold
- Lindsay Wrinn – Corinna as a toddler
- Megan Wrinn – Corinna as a toddler
The film received a mixed to positive reviews. Many critics and moviegoers felt the film was not as powerfully charged as the original 1947 classic, but the performance of actors, particularly of Nicolas Cage were highly praised. Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times called Cage as "one of the few American actors who gets more interesting from film to film", adding that he "comes close to kidnaping the picture as Little Junior, a pumped-up but asthmatic thug who, like King Kong, is a gorilla with a wistful air about him."
Roger Ebert found the film uncompelling, awarding it only 2 out of 4 stars. Though he also considered the character of Little Junior "overwritten", Ebert did praise Nicolas Cage's performance, calling Cage a "real movie actor" who "plays the role with style and bravado."
The movie currently holds a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 37 reviews with the consensus: "An outstanding ensemble cast propels Kiss of Death, a noir-ish crime thriller that's slick and big on atmosphere, even if its script may only provide sporadic bursts of tension." Despite such usually favorable reviews, Kiss of Death holds a low audience score of 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and 5.8 rating on IMDb.
- Kiss of Death at the Internet Movie Database
- Kiss of Death at Rotten Tomatoes
- Kiss of Death at Box Office Mojo
- Kiss of Death at allmovie