After taking the rap for her mobster boyfriend Kevin (Jeremy Northam), Gloria (Sharon Stone) leaves her Florida prison and heads back to New York City. Desperate and angry, she lashes out, putting to good use the tough education she earned growing up in Hell’s Kitchen.
In the process, she accidentally becomes guardian of a stubborn six-year-old boy, Nicky (Jean-Luke Figueroa), whose family has been wiped out by Kevin’s gang, handing the boy devastating information that can destroy his underworld empire.
Gloria has always been in control, but now she’s forced to scurry through Manhattan streets and try to adapt to life with a child who hates her. As Gloria’s life spins out of control, she realizes that both she and the boy are marked for murder by the mob. They have nobody but each other, so as she gives Nicky a second chance at childhood, he gives her another shot at life…
Although it seems like a Brass Eye-style hoodwink, the result of Sharon Stone reworking John Cassavetes is not the scabrous heresy everyone expected. Lumet – director of Dog Day Afternoon , Serpico and Network – conjures up enough drama and sentiment to please both anxious studio and paying audience, jettisoning the original director’s improvisatory style in favour of a conventional framework.
Stone (who worked with the original lead Gena Rowlands on The Mighty the previous year) was never going to outshine the former Mrs Cassavetes, but she taps into that same gutsy credibility which propelled her through Casino, creating a convincing relationship with the seven-year-old natural, Figueroa. “I had to go to this place and make my eyes water,” remembered the young boy of his audition. “I did it better than the other guys.”
USA / 1999
Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: John Cassavetes, Steve Antin
Cast: Sharon Stone, Jean-Luke Figueroa, Jeremy Northam, Cathy Moriarty, George C. Scott