Synopsis: A story of a family who has their comfortable life made uncomfortable with the revealing of past secrets and present day lies.
Release Date: March 19, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
“City Island” is a film built upon a foundation of family secrets. Small secrets have the ability to corrode the bonds between even the closest families and the Rizzo family is no exception. These hidden thoughts, habits and motives may have seemed harmless enough to keep, but over the years they have grown large enough to tear a hole in the Rizzo family bond. The lies that were meant to cover up something minorely shameful, ended up causing even more miscommunication and pain. Andy Garcia plays prison guard Vince Rizzo, a man who finds quiet release in taking acting classes. Rather than tell his family about his newfound interest in the dramatic arts, he decides to conceal it to avoid being made fun of and seen as less of a man. This tiny lie is misread by his wife, Joyce Rizzo (Julianna Margulies) and, instead of demanding an explanation, she jumps to the conclusion that he is unfaithful and vows to get even. Their daughter, Vivian Rizzo (Dominik Garcia-Lorido), has dropped out of school because of financial issues and has taken on a rather unsavory occupation. Their youngest son, Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller), is dealing with his newly forming sexual fantasies. Ironically, it only takes one person to enter the home of this tight-lipped family for all the secrets to come spilling out. Tony Nardella (Steven Strait), an inmate that Vince took a special interest in, was released into the custody of the Rizzo home. He becomes an innocent bystander that gives the audience a more grounded perspective of the family relationships. However, in a bizarre twist of discovery, we find that Nardella may not be exempt from the secret keeping after all.
Although “City Island” has a relatively simple premise and plot structure, it is a film that is so tightly wound and clean that it moves along like a well oiled machine. The film never loses the audiences’ interest because it has layers like an onion and to watch this film is to constantly peel back layers of secret meaning. This film is is heartwarming, serious and back breaking funny; but perhaps its best quality is that it is uncompromising and brutally honest.
Everything that happens in this film occurs within the confines of the family and yet, not once over the course of the 100 minute film does the audience stop being surprised. The dialogue is replete with innuendo and double meanings which reveal so much and yet so little. At times, the dialogue has the audience laughing so hard they are gasping for air and at others it had them wiping away tears as fast they can in order not to miss anything. Ultimately, the screenplay was able to capture something real and to comment on the essence of family dynamics.
In this ensemble, there was no weak link. They all had beautiful chemistry with one another no matter what relationship was being portrayed. Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies’s portrayal of Vince and Vivian was hilarious and very believable. Ezra Miller as Vince Jr., the perverted youngest son, is achingly hilarious. Emily Mortimer gives a subtle and moving performance as Garcia’s drama partner that rounds out this talented cast.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Raymond De FelittaLauren Versel
- Producer(s): Raymond De FelittaAndy Garcia (Vince Rizzo)
- Screenwriter(s): Dominik Garcia-Lorido (Vivian Rizzo)Julianna Margulies (Joyce Rizzo)
- Cast: David LeonardVanja CernjulFranckie Diago
- Editor(s): Tere Duncan
- Cinematographer: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA