Hoffa (1992)

Hoffa (1992)
  • Time: 140 min
  • Genre: Biography | Crime | Drama
  • Director: Danny DeVito
  • Cast: Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Armand Assante


Jack Nicholson’s portrait of union leader James R. Hoffa, as seen through the eyes of his friend, Bobby Ciaro (Danny DeVito). The film follows Hoffa through his countless battles with the RTA and President Roosevelt all the way to a conclusion that negates the theory that he disappeared in 1975.

One comment

  • When I went to see “Hoffa”, I was rather negatively predisposed: Since I am not an American, I had never even heard of Jimmy Hoffa before and his story didn’t sound very exciting. Even worse, Danny De Vito’s role as a director was not very promising. If it wasn’t that David Mammet had written the script, and Jack Nicholson had the lead role, I would never be motivated to go and see the movie.

    Fortunately, I was totally wrong on both counts, namely “Hoffa”‘s story and De Vito’s direction. Let us start with the story, first: The movie portrays us the life of a charismatic yet controversial Teamster leader, Jimmy Hoffa (Nicholson), who transformed the labor union movement in the late 60s. We follow him through the eyes of his close friend and associate Bobby Ciaro (De Vito), while he does not hesitate to do anything, including collaborating with the organized crime, in order to get his goals achieved. Although the film stops short of accusing him of personally profiting from these acts (a theory that I read in a forum which could well be quite true), it nonetheless gives us the impression of a man ready to use unorthodox and unscrupulous methods to achieve his great ambitions. All in all, it is a quite interesting story, where an always grand Jack Nicholson shows his great acting talent.

    And now let us get to the second point which is Danny De Vito’s direction. To be honest, I was never really impressed by the man as an actor, and even in this film his acting contribution is limited, in my opinion. So imagine my surprise when I found out that De Vito has excellent directing skills: “Hoffa” is directed very artfully, with clever scene transitions, good character portrayals, and a very good tempo despite the frequent flash-backs. In fact, the fact that De Vito could come up with such a good direction was a really pleasant surprise, and it is a pity that he hasn’t pursued this path much further.

    Overall rating 7/10.

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