Roger Ebert's ultimate Chicago movie


The perfect Chicago movie would be impossible to make, but you might approach perfection in this way.

Begin with a director who has demonstrated since his first work an intimacy with the real city and its neighborhoods. That would be Andrew Davis. His first film was Stony Island (1978). He returned for Code of Silence in 1985. OK, it was a Chuck Norris movie, but a good one, and the city has never been better “used.” Then he made Above the Law here in 1988. OK, it was a Steven Seagal movie, but not a bad one. Then came The Package in 1989, with Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones. Then came the masterpiece The Fugitive, with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. I’ll bet you can still remember Chicago shots in that one. Andy was back here in 1996 for Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman. So he’s our director.

Screenplay? Who better for Chicago cadences than David Mamet? Case closed. Actor? Someone with family roots here, like John Cusack. Actress? I’d go with Joan Allen. Supporting actor? John Malkovich. Supporting actress? Why not Joan Cusack? Cinematographer: Haskell Wexler. We’d get Quincy Jones to write the score. Of course the Chicago Symphony Orchestra would perform it, under the baton of the eminent movie composer Richard Kaufman—not born here, but he qualifies because he specializes in conducting movie music for the CSO and many other orchestras.

What would it be about? I’m not gonna tell David Mamet what his story is gonna be about. The story is told when the story is sold. But it has to have a romantic scene by the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park. Or a murder, either way.


Illustration: Gluekit