Albino Alligator (1996) Director: Kevin Spacey - a jpoc movie review
Could have been good, ended up average.
Main Cast
Matt Dillon Dova - a bad guy
Gary Sinise Milo - Dova's brother
William Fichtner Law - last of the three bad guys
M. Emmet Walsh Dino - bar owner
Viggo Mortensen Guy Foucard - out of town crook
Joe Mantegna A.T.F. Agent G.D. Browning
Faye Dunaway Janet Boudreaux - bar help
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Rating and viewing notes
Five out of ten. - I first saw this movie when it was on original release in Brussels.
The jpoc review
A stake out, a botched robbery, a chase and finally, three bad guys holed up in a basement bar with a bunch of hostages. But they are not the only bad guys in the bar.

OK, that makes this a hostage movie with a twist but is it any good?

Hostage movies depend almost entirely on the development of chemistry between the three parties involved, the hostages, the hostage takers and the cops. That is where this movie lets itself down.

The cops - in this case the ATF - are nowhere, A.T.F. Agent G.D. Browning (Joe Mantegna) does get the funniest line in the whole movie but that's about it for law enforcement. So we are just left with the bad guys and the bar flies.

Dova (Matt Dillon) and Milo (Gary Sinise) are brothers and together with Law (William Fichtner) they make up a mismatched set of crooks. Law has a simple bottom line: he will not return to prison and he is prepared to kill everyone in the bar if it keeps him out of jail. Milo, badly hurt in the car chase, doesn't agree but is in no position to assert his will and falls into despair. Dova struggles to keep peace between his brother and his friend but it is a struggle that he must ultimately lose.

It's Dino's (M. Emmet Walsh) bar but Walsh gets pretty well no script to work with which is a shame. Barhelp Janet Boudreaux (Faye Dunaway) gets more and Dunaway does a great job with what she has to work with but any real interplay between her and the gang is more a hint of potential than a realisation. Watch Dog Day Afternoon and see how Al Pacino and Penelope Allen pull this one off. Dillon may be no Pacino but Dunaway is a fine actress and together they should have been able to make it - they just don't have quite enough script to work with.

Guy Foucard (Viggo Mortensen) is a real disappointment. He is not entirely to blame - the script does him no favours - but more importantly, he is miscast here. When you have seen this movie, try to imagine it with Steve Buscemi playing this role, it would not have turned this into a great movie but it would have moved it up a notch.

It was Kevin Spacey's debut as a director and while it was good enough to justify letting him have another go (it was a long time coming) many of the movies problems arose from the directing and the script.