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The Ratings Game

This plays fast and loose between the demands of the screenplay and the directorial imperative, which is part of its charm. One little sequence is notable: the taping of the pilot episode of Sittin’ Pretty shows the ring of authenticity.

Put this on a double bill with The King of Comedy for maximum effect.



Hoffa is essentially a close study of Norman Jewison’s F.I.S.T. activated by David Mamet’s script. Neither Mamet nor De Vito is content with the surface of the representation offered to them, they want something more. This is the ideal ground for a productive work of art.

Jimmy Hoffa represents the working man ennobled and obliterated by the gangland hierarchy, according to the film. There is a great deal of attention paid to reproducing speech patterns and forms of address, not documentary-style but accounting for archival footage. Imaginative flaws sometimes get short shrift from a comparative tyro, but the treatment is epic. The last scene will be recognized as derived from The Passenger, say, or some closer model, and ever so slightly missing its correct filming.