City Hall also offers some interesting content. The story is supposed to be about how things aren't simply black and white, but that life -- and, by extension, politics -- is lived in shades of gray. Mostly by telling instead of showing, City Hall gets at those shades of gray. The compromising politicians aren't necessarily greedy or power mad, they're simply trying to work things out -- they may even mean well.
City Hall is a film that asks us to feel sorry for officials who believe that they have to cross the line to do their job effectively. And while the actors manage a compelling argument, the film as a whole remains uneven. The ending in particular is pap -- the crooked simply fold up their tents and go home. Ultimately, though, unusual intentions and great work by a sterling cast make City Hall a movie that can be enjoyable -- and even, at times, stirring.
City Hall. Directed by Harold Becker. With John Cusack, Al Pacino and Bridget Fonda. Rated R. 112 minutes.