A tantalising setting and fantastic cast of characters can’t elevate a familiar, paper-thin plot.
I so wanted to love David Mamet’s Chicago. A Prohibition-era tale of murder and mystery, gangsters, love, friendship and betrayal? Written by the man who wrote the screenplay for The Untouchables? Uh, yes, please; and thank you. Unfortunately, though the setting is masterfully evoked and the dialogue sings, beneath all of that is a tame whodunit, which takes an age to unearth, and is too thin to garner any sort of suspense or intrigue.
Mike Hodge is a former pilot of the Great War, now a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, who falls hard for a young woman named Annie Walsh, and becomes determined to find her killer after she is murdered in front of his eyes. Hodge’s story — ostensibly a revenge quest— could’ve unfolded as a cliched tale of revenge, but US playwright Mamet digs past the superficial level to deliver a story rife with social commentary on 1920’s organised crime-ridden Chicago, imbued with three-dimensional characters who display the distinctive, fast, edgy dialogue the author is renown for. But Mamet seems more determined to paint a portrait of the mob-era Windy City than he is provide an intoxicating mystery for readers to sink their teeth into and propel them forward.
Strong on atmosphere but lacking anything in suspense, Chicago serves as a vehicle for Mamet to deliver his trademark sharp and nuanced dialogue, but there’s so much talking going on that nothing much actually happens.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Publish Date: 19-Feb-2018
Country of Publication: United States