June 3, 2019  (Web Review)

Mad Dog and Glory

Kino Lorber, 97 min., R, Blu-ray: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

So much is well done in this 1993 crime drama directed by John McNaughton for producer Martin Scorsese that it makes the shortcomings all the more frustrating. Robert De Niro is cast against type as lonely, timid Chicago police detective Wayne Dobie, nicknamed “Mad Dog” as an insult, and Bill Murray is Frank Milo, a loan shark and low-level mobster who wants to be a standup comic. After Wayne saves Frank’s life during a convenience store hold-up, Frank repays the debt by “giving” him Glory (Uma Thurman) for a week, a situation that Wayne can’t refuse without causing Glory (who is under the thumb of Frank) worse problems. Naturally, he falls in love, and tries to find a way to buy out Glory’s debt. The original screenplay, written by novelist Richard Price, presents well-drawn characters and complicated relationships, but the sexual politics are poorly handled. The indentured servitude-turned-sexual slavery faced by Glory is real enough, but the filmmakers fail to confront her ordeal, and this male take on a woman forced into prostitution is problematic at best and insensitive at worst. Extras include audio commentary by McNaughton, an archival “making-of” featurette, and cast and crew interviews. A strong optional purchase. (S. Axmaker)