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Mad City

Year: 1997
Production Co: Punch Productions
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Costa-Gavras
Producer: Anne Kopelson/Arnold Kopelson
Cast: John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Alda, Mia Kershner, William Atherton, Raymond J Barry
Brilliant satire on the modern media as John Travolta plays Sam, a put-upon museum janitor who snaps when life gets too much and he loses his job.

He takes a group of schoolchildren hostage to try and get attention fro the media about his plight, and when reporter Max (Dustin Hoffman) is inside he immediately works his way into Sam's good graces, telling him he can take his message to the world but with his eye firmly on the scoop.

The much smarter, media-savvy reporter starts to media-manage the hapless crook to get maximum mileage out of the saga and he comes to understand him in the end, but it's a very effective comment on the role of the media in society, the question of whether it imitates us or we imitate it, and the scientific principle that you can't observe something without affecting the outcome.

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