Here's one offering with a better pedigree than most of director Joe Roth's work: the 1998 novel by Richard Price set in the same New Jersey housing project as his 1992 murder mystery set amid the world of cops and drug dealers, Clockers. And it boasts a high-caliber cast: Samuel L. Jackson as Detective Lorenzo Council, a father figure to even the no-goods living in the Gannon, New Jersey, housing projects known as Armstrong; Julianne Moore as Brenda Martin, the distraught woman who claims to have been carjacked while her four-year-old son slept in the car; and Edie Falco as Karen Collucci, the activist who fronts an organization of moms dedicated to tracking down missing kids. The book was likewise a rich, intricate, and even haunting worka whodunit set in a messy place where black and white are always one shove away from drawing red blood. The movie, though? No such luck. And the performances all around are lousyhistrionic and turgid, a most lethal combination.
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