Picks and Pans Review: Criminal Justice

updated 09/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HBO (Sat., Sept. 8, 9 P.M. ET)

A-

Garbage in, garbage out. That cynical attitude often supplants the pursuit of justice in inner-city legal systems completely over-burdened with drug offenders and their attendant violence. Right from the start (the graphic assault on a Brooklyn prostitute played by Rosie Perez), this movie is a harsh, unflinching look at Mean Street crime and punishment.

Forest Whitaker is the man accused of the attack, Anthony LaPaglia his public defender and Jennifer Grey the assistant D.A. There are no heroes here. The film, full of foul language, refuses to provide the easy moral handles TV always gives us to grab onto. It's an unpleasant and powerful experience. Whitaker and LaPaglia both excel in challenging roles.

From Our Partners