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George At 

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Jack Nicholson IS Jimmy Hoffa in Danny DeVito's 1992 HOFFA, a well-mounted biopic that starts slow but gets better as it rolls.

We first meet Hoffa as a young labor organizer, jumping aboard trucker Bobby Ciaro's truck attempting to recruit him to the burgeoning Teamsters Union.

Ciaro (DeVito) wants nothing to do with him, but soon finds himself at Hoffa's side as the driving conditions of the day and a surprise appearance by Hoffa at his workplace force his hand.

Hoffa's movement grows, as does his power. He's 100% committed, living and breathing his workers agenda 24 hours a day. If there's a weakness to the film, it's that we know almost nothing about Hoffa's personal life at the end of two hours spanning his life.

As the film hits the midway mark, Hoffa's power puts him in direct conflict with Bobby Kennedy (Kevin Anderson) and their battles in and out of the courtroom lift the film. Every word of dialogue in the courtroom is an exact recreation of history.

Hoffa also finds a fascinating partner (foe?) in Mob boss D'Allesandro, perfectly played by Armand Assante (American Gangster) as a very dangerous man to find at your side in any capacity.

JT Walsh (A Few Good Men), Robert Prosky (Mrs Doubtfire) and young John C. Reilly (Chicago, Step Brothers) play key roles and they're all very good.

As you'd expect from playwright David Mamet, the screenplay is bathed in profanity and violent men. His confrontation scenes are perfect, his words escalating into war-like conflicts that any fan of "Glengarry Glen Ross" will recognize and appreciate. His screenplay presents Hoffa as a man as equally corrupt as he is devoted.

As a Director, DeVito probably peaked with "War of the Roses", but he brings plenty of style, even if some of his showy camera movements here feel like forced, "Spielberg-lite". He seems overly concerned with clever scene transitions the entire movie. After awhile, zooming way in on snowy footprints that then become a golf ball closeup begin to wear thin.

Nicholson towers above the movie, buried under an accent and makeup of equal depth. He's excellent.

The final moments are a guess of what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared without a trace in 1975.

Like the rest of the movie, it feels accurate, well staged, but more than a little cold, which probably says as much about the man as the film.

HOFFA gets a B-.

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