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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday June 20, 2019 


An inept trio of small time hoods, Dova (Dillon), Milo (Sinise) and Law (Fichtner), bungle a job and take shelter in a basement bar, a perfectly maintained relic of the 1920’s prohibition era. At the same time, a Canadian gun runner escapes the FBI. Desperate for a car and a clean getaway, the trio take the five people in the bar hostage, and find themselves surrounded by Federal agents as well as the police - who believe they are onto the gun runner. What begins as a confusion of identities, develops into a question of desperation and the price we are willing to pay for survival, as the desperation of the hoods as well as the hostages escalates in the claustrophobic cellar bar.

"If you like Spacey the actor, you’ll like him equally as a director. He has made this directing debut as taut as a coiled spring, as edgy as a psycho on heat and as moving as a mother dying for her child. Of course, the script helps; Christian Forte began with the philosophical question, "what are you willing to sacrifice to survive?" and penned a thriller that works as a straight genre piece but also on a deeper level. Like all good movies, you’ll say. Spacey’s attention to his actors (careful casting, focused rehearsals and crucial sequences shot chronologically) pay off with stunning work from all concerned, not the least Faye Dunaway who sizzles with rekindled fire, and Matt Dillon, who tears himself apart with the moral dilemmas he has to face. The humour, scant but crucial to let the drama breathe, is beautifully handled throughout, as is the tension which begins at the opening credits and never lets up. Intelligent without being clever, Albino Alligator is a powderkeg of a debut for Spacey, and a movie that will engage movie fans for generations."
Andrew L. Urban

"Compelling and evocative with superb performances, Kevin Spacey’s directorial debut boasts a strong script and focused, imaginative direction. It’s a character driven plot, with each character so solidly established that we are almost able to see into their respective minds. The strong script is uncluttered and contains some surprising touches of humour as well as unexpected twists and turns. Great tension and atmosphere are effectively brewed by moody lighting, evocative music (often percussive) and direction that uses silences and tight close ups to great effect. The relative lack of graphic violence on screen in no way minimises the impact: in fact, this is a good example of how what is NOT seen can be more powerful than seeing blood and guts spill all over the place. Matt Dillon is his brooding best as Dova; Gary Sinese, tortured and troubled as his brother Milo; William Fichtner, violently uncompromising; Faye Dunaway, multi-layered with a conscience; Skeet Ulrich, quietly intriguing; Joe Mantegna, solid as the cop. And the large old movie poster showing Humphrey Bogart watching over the action is a haunting touch. Catch it, this one is really worth it."
Louise Keller

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Read David Edward's report on Kevin Spacey's press conference in Brisbane in Interviews

Faye Dunaway and director Kevin Spacey

Matt Dillon

William Fichtner

William Fichtner and Gary Sinise


CAST: Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, Faye Dunaway, Skeet Ulrich, Joe Mantegna, William Fichtner, Viggo Mortensen, John Spencer, M.Emmet Walsh

DIRECTOR: Kevin Spacey

PRODUCER: Brad Krevoy, Steve Stabler, Brad Jenkel

SCRIPT: Christian Forte


EDITOR: Jay Cassidy

MUSIC: Michael Brook


RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes



AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 28, 1997 - all capitals, except Melbourne: Sept 25




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