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Q & A (1990)

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1:38 | Trailer
A young district attorney seeking to prove a case against a corrupt police detective encounters a former lover and her new protector, a crime boss who refuses to help him in this gritty ... See full summary »

Director:

Sidney Lumet (as Alan Smithee: television prints)

Writers:

Edwin Torres (book), Sidney Lumet (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Mike Brennan
Timothy Hutton ... Al Reilly
Armand Assante ... Bobby Texador
Patrick O'Neal ... Kevin Quinn
Lee Richardson ... Leo Bloomenfeld
Luis Guzmán ... Luis Valentin (as Luis Guzman)
Charles S. Dutton ... Sam Chapman (as Charles Dutton)
Jenny Lumet ... Nancy Bosch
Paul Calderon ... Roger Montalvo
International Chrysis International Chrysis ... Jose Malpica
Dominic Chianese ... Larry Pesch (as Dominick Chianese)
Leonardo Cimino ... Nick Petrone
Fyvush Finkel ... Preston Pearlstein
Gustavo Brens Gustavo Brens ... Alfonse Segal
Martin E. Brens Martin E. Brens ... Armand Segal
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Storyline

A young district attorney seeking to prove a case against a corrupt police detective encounters a former lover and her new protector, a crime boss who refuses to help him in this gritty crime film. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the questions are dangerous, the answers can be deadly.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

27 April 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tödliche Fragen See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,816,605, 29 April 1990

Gross USA:

$11,207,891

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,207,891
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Patrick O'Neal (Kevin Quinn) and Cynthia O'Neal (Agnes Quinn) were married in real life. See more »

Goofs

Chief Quinn asks ADA Reilly why he did not attend St. John's Law School. Hutton says his father didn't like the Jesuits. St. John's University is not a Jesuit institution. It is conducted by the Vincentians. See more »

Quotes

Captain Lt. Michael 'Mike' Brennan, NYPD: Oh, Reilly. You just loved the idea of your father. Now, your father was dirty. He was as dirty as they come. Nothing big, just penny-ante stuff. You know, free meals. A place to coop. For a while, he was a bag man for a pad in the South Bronx. The normal stuff. He took home $100, $150 a week. That's all. But hell, what a cop. Like me, he was the first through the door, the window, the skylight! I mean, he knew there were animals out there! He knew there was a line the niggers, the spics, the ...
See more »


Soundtracks

TIP-TOE THRU' THE TULIPS WITH ME
Written by Al Dubin and Joseph A. Burke
Performed by Tiny Tim
Courtesy of Reprise Records
Warner Bros. Music
A division of Warner Bros. Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

This is one &!(## X&^@+**#-ing tough movie.
30 March 2002 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

The last and least of Sidney Lumet's three stories of (more or less) innocents trying to uncover police corruption and blow the whistle on the guilty, and the only fictional story. There's nothing wrong with the acting of the principals. Nolte is brutish and tall in an over-the-top performance. (He always looks larger on screen than in person.) His New York accent, however, is clearly superimposed on an unregional Omaha set of phonemes. Jenny Lumet looks splendid but has the same problem with her accent, and her scenes are too long as part of a mixed-up romantic subplot that doesn't hold together well. Timothy Hutton has less of a notable problem with his speech, and he is really quite good as the innocent-looking but by no means weak investigating attorney. He even looks pretty Irish. O'Neal is the smoothly villainous and murderous head of the investigation, and a very good villain he is, as usual. Guzman and Dutton provide excellent supporting roles. And Armand Assante seems built for the part of the iron-eating PR drug dealer who has made the decision, a thoroughly rational one, to get out and live in the Caribbean sunshine. His body movements provide a language unto themselves, his smallest gestures are magnetic. They draw so much attention to themselves that they are almost the self-parody that they were in his hilarious spoof of detective movies. He's an exceptional actor.

The movie's plot, however, leaves a good deal to be desired. Its fictional skeleton shows through. You've never seen so much ethnicity on the screen before, and it's misplaced. It's easy enough to believe that racial insults are offhandedly traded among in-group members but difficult to believe that every conversational exchange, no matter how casual or intense, must include one. And at the very time when some of these barriers are beginning to weaken, judging from the rising rates of intermarriage. Serpico's story was relatively simple. Prince of the City far more complex and realistically tragic. This one is simply hard to follow as well as hard to believe. Boats turn into fireballs in unlikely ways, as they do in quickie action movies. Characters fly back and forth from San Juan to New York and some are killed and it's difficult to keep track of what's what and who's who. It isn't that Lumet has lost his touch.

When a character is shot in the neck, man does he bleed out. But the director is working with less compelling material here and in any case this kind of narrative is running out of steam. All of that notwithstanding, this is still a notch above most of the junk polluting the multiplex screens today.


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