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Mad City


by Vivian Rose, age 14, Arkansas

"Mad City" is the most creative, unique movie I have seen since "G.I. Jane."

John Travolta stars as Sam Bailey, a working class citizen with kids, bills, and now, no job. In a desperate attempt to get his job back, he brings a gun to talk with his former boss, Ms. Banks, at the Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, a slightly disgraced news reporter named Brackett (Dustin Hoffman) who came to do a story on the Museum's money woes, watches from his hiding place in the men's room. Suddenly, with an accidentally fired shot from Sam's gun, his ex-partner and friend, fellow security guard Cliff Winters, is wounded, and suddenly Sam is in charge of a most unplanned hostage situation. (A group of passing school kids, their teacher, and Ms. Banks become Sam's hostages). Brackett is discovered, and manipulates his way into the story of the century, advising Sam on how to get public opinion on his side, and do an unheard of live interview with Sam during the hostage situation.

This film - especially the tragic ending - really makes you think about the impact the media has on our lives, and the credible performances by Travolta and Hoffman give the story truth.

My rating: 4 stars
Rating: PG-13 (for depiction of a hostage situation, including violence and brief language)