New York Magazine


Civic Duty
  Release Date: 05/04/07 (Future Release)

Starring: Peter Krause, Khaled Abol Naga, Richard Schiff, Kari Matchett, Ian Tracey

Director: Jeff Renfroe

Rating: (R)
  Running Time
  100 min
  Freestyle Releasing/Yari Film Group
Official Website
Get Movie Showtimes and Tickets

Civic Duty grinds its way into the most predictable and irritating plot twist I’ve seen at this year’s festival—one of those that triggers an audible sigh of disgust from even the press audience. But before that, Jeff Renfroe’s film stirs up some timely anxieties, including the War on Terror, racial profiling, and downsizing, as Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause plays a paranoiac accountant who gets downsized and then begins to suspect that his neighbor is a terrorist. The few early scenes tracking Krause as he stalks his neighbor generate eerie, if often comical suspense, but soon the screechy horror soundtrack and too literal TV newscasts (oil prices, war in Iraq, terrorist attacks) begin to wear thin. Pretty soon, that terrible cliché—a hostage crisis with a gun held against the temple of a helpless man-is the only thing holding your interest, as the director unconvincingly explores a series of red herrings and reversals. (If Krause weren’t such a strong actor, the film would collapse from the start.) It’s oddly frustrating, not just because of the groaner, how-low-can-you-go twist, but also because you feel the double frustration of being exploited and instructed at the same time.— Reviewed by Logan Hill, New York Magazine