Botero! Botero! That is the secret message to let me know if you liked this movie as much as I did. And yes, I liked it a lot.
Strong Bad once said that an indie film will most likely be titled after the city in which it takes place ( the example he gave was City, State ) and something to do with a dysfuntional family. Well, Strong Bad, once again you were not far off. City Island ( cleverly named after an area in the Bronx where the story takes place ) brings us the misadventures of Vince Rizzo ( Andy Garcia ) and the entire Rizzo family, who seems incapable of telling anything that even slightly resembles the truth to one another. All this lying and covering up inevitably escalates into greater conflict when Vince brings home a convict from the prison where he works as a prison gaurd.
The preformances in this film are very good though I doubt any of them will yield any Oscars. Andy Garcia is very interesting as a destressed father who's dreams have been crushed and is now working a job he doesn't care for so that he can support his family. Julianna Margulies is very plausable as a wife who suspects that her husband's pokergames are an excuse for a mistress. Steven Strait gives one of the most memorable preformances as Tony the convict, who is thrusted into the Rizzo household by Garcia's character. However, perhaps the most memorable of all the characters is Vinny Rizzo, the smart mouth teenage son played by Ezra Miller, who brings the most comic relief to this movie.
The script is not assertive and the audience is not bogged down in too much drama, giving this film a lighter feel which makes for a good dramedy. This movie is light-hearted and the actors definitely create a comedic atmosphere that lasts throughout the movie; however, this film is not a laugh riot. This is a story about these characters and not so much about getting a laugh out of the audience, but it does find a nice balance.
Though there wasn't anything special about the direction and the camerawork, writer-director Raymond De Felitta has brough something special to the big screen: A kind-hearted film with a good lesson and lovable characters brought to life by talented actors; a perfect blend that makes this movie very much enjoyable.