A Stranger Among Us - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Stranger Among Us Reviews

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½ February 10, 2018
Fascinating and respectful of the Hassidic community in Brooklyn. Directed by Sidney Lumet- an absorbing movie!
½ August 28, 2015
Decent cop drama. Nothing to phone home about though. The only distinguishing feature is that it shows an inside look at the lives of hasidic Jews. One you don't see often.
April 6, 2015
Not much more than a movie of the week.Watchable then easily forgettable thriller.
½ January 6, 2015
Barring the diffused frames which makes up for beautiful cinematography, there's nothing much in the film. The screenplay is weak and too many cliches without a solid motive throughout the story. It was more like a documentary glorifying Hasidism. A movie worth skipping.
½ August 15, 2014

It's WITNESS all over again. Instead of focusing on the Amish, it's the Jewish community this time around. I prefer Weir's version.
½ March 6, 2014
A female policeman (Griffith) goes undercover to solve a murder in the Jewish community. The mystery in the story is obvious from the get go and the romance between the cop and a Jewish man is never fully realized; too bad.
December 28, 2012
Melanie Griffith goes undercover among Hasidic Jews to solve a murder that looks like an inside job? Oh Melanie! I'm so sorry you were ever that broke.
December 7, 2012
Would like to get round to watching.
October 4, 2012
This is a pretty terrible movie, and does not represent the lives or the customs of the Ultra-Orthodox very well. In addition, Melanie Griffith was simply terrible. Laughably terrible, actually.
I gave it a half star more than I should have just because I was amused by the number of times that Eric Thal's character rejected the character of Melanie Griffith.
March 26, 2012
Decent film. Reminded me of Witness(1985).
February 22, 2012
..."Dieu compte les larmes des femmes"...-La Kabbale
October 9, 2011
September 7, 2011
Thematically, A Stranger Among Us is definitely a Sidney Lumet film, sharing with much stronger installments in his repertoire the importance of the morally and emotionally committed life, the necessity for the individual to accept personal responsibility, and the archetypal human struggle toward self-definition and human potentiation in a complex universe. Melanie Griffith builds a strong characterization as an unsentimental homicide detective, who goes undercover to probe the murder of a Hasidic diamond cutter. To do so, she lives with the family of an elderly Holocaust survivor who is revered in his highly insulated community for his prudence and care for his fellow Jews. He tells her, "You and I have something in common: We are both intimately familiar with evil. It does something to your soul." And after the very brief, not overly graphic latter sequence, Griffith shows both grit and mercy to a dying thug played by a fine actor in a debut role, who cries, "I'm so scared." Lumet's camera looks sharply down at him as she lets him hold her hand as he dies.

But in terms of content and technique, there are deep-rooted snags completely uncharacteristic of Lumet's gamut. Griffith is attracted to Thal, the good-looking young rabbinical student bound to be the next community chief, who long-sufferingly clarifies that a marriage has been prearranged for him and that he must defy the appeals of the flesh, namely hers. Because he does so effectively, and because we agree he should, there's no dramatic tension here, merely very forced dialogue. Then there's the crime. I won't spoil the particulars, trifling and substandard though they are, however given the barefaced blood stains on the ceiling, what's astonishing is that every other cop didn't notice the body before Griffith did. And when she immediately deduces the identity of the culprit, the evidence she applies has been on hand the whole time. But Robert Avrech's screenplay has her exclaim her interpretation in one false, obvious Poirot-wannabe oration.

So, if the separate workings of Lumet's portrait of culture shock in half-baked romantic thriller masquerade were deconstructed, considered independently, they may not arouse much belief in the material's promise. No help is found in a title that shrieks A&E made-for-TV movie. One could sensibly have estimated to confront a film with less profundity, and certainly no theoretical significance. Rather, Avrech brews his script in some surprisingly perceptive moments. It develops as an involving and reverent handling of a frequently tainted creed. The film finely informs us about not just highly elaborate rituals and mores, but also theology, annals and folklore.

How does it attain such a degree of achievement given the fairly revolting elements? Maybe this craggy cobble in Lumet's rocky road through the 1990s is much like Judaism itself. The grandeur of an orthodox Jew's general experience bewilderingly manages to overshadow the whole of its pieces. I distrust that the NYPD normally dispatches officers to room with potential suspects, yet she goes undercover living with the Rebbe's family. The movie is clearly recycling the Witness/Beverly Hills Cop fish-out-of-water convention, but Lumet and Avrech's steadiest level of operation is not in telling a whodunit mystery which basically hibernates for a good portion of the film just to resurface at the climax seemingly to recap us on an overlooked job half-done.

While there are a couple of imaginatively worked and remarkable enough moments of action, one introducing Griffiths' character with expert terseness, and one much later, such sequential touches blanch in contrast to the enigma of a people's dedication to a god, the enigma which this minor Lumet effort attempts to explore. An important element of Griffith here is that she's unrepentantly sexual. Not cheap or slutty, just comfortable with hetero dynamics. Thal's her counterpoint. Their aforementioned rapport is definitely not "bashert," but all together, the empty spaces in either character can be fulfilled by something inside the other. There have been countless films showing or trying to show sincere, genuine devout Judaism. The Jewish screenwriter and the Jewish director have collaborated to give us something both flaccidly formulaic in its genre execution, but rewarding to contemplate in regards to their common heritage.
½ August 26, 2011
Really Boring Crime-Thriller!!
Suspense is alright but the Movie is complete about the Hasidic Community.
There is no thrill at all in this movie.
The only good thing about the movie is ERIC THAL's performance.
The suspense seem little predictable during the movie.

This movie is about a hardened homicide detective (Griffith), goes undercover to investigate the murder of a Hasidic diamond-cutter.

Direction is just OKEY DOKEY.
Screenplay and Cinematography are average.

The Worst thing about the movie is casting of MALANIE GRIFFITH as Undercover Cop. She didn't suit at all in the cop's role. Although is was good in few scenes.
MIA SARA is impressive in role of leah.
But Wonderful performance by ERIC THAL. He is excellent through out.

ERIC THAL's performance is not good enough to make this movie a worth watch, at the end.. it's time waste crime thriller.
July 16, 2011
I had no idea Melanie had this in her, really solid performance.I really enjoyed the peek inside the Hasidic Jewish Community, Interesting & Lovely.This was a Surprisingly good film.
July 8, 2011
A female version of witness, only not as good.
February 25, 2011
Despite the gross miscasting of Melanie Griffith in the main role it was quite an interesting movie but certainly no "Witness". I was glad that some thought was put into the ending also.
October 27, 2010
My mother loves it but I can't take Melanie Griffith or Michael Douglas.
½ September 11, 2010
Questo film avrebbe fatto diventare misogina ed antisemita perfino la Madonna. Brrrr
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