A New York City narcotics detective (Treat Williams) who walks the thin, ambiguous moral line on the job but steers clear of major infractions is compelled by the Justice Department to wear a wire and testify against other members of his department. Acting out of conscience, he reluctantly agrees with the stipulation that he will not be compelled to rat on his partners. When he is outed as the mole, he finds his life in jeopardy and nowhere to turn for help. Based on a true story, Sidney Lumet’s Prince of the City is an involving, harsh, complex and even refreshing tale of police corruption geared towards adults. The detail is impeccable and you can feel the grit oozing off the screen while the protagonist’s trapped, claustrophobic dilemma is just as palpable. Williams’ performance is imperfect but demanding and occasionally powerful.
*** 1/2 out of ****