The film begins with a group of men secretly coming together to count a large sum of money. This meeting is soon interrupted by a knock on the door from a pair of amateur crooks with loaded guns demanding all the money be handed over. The robbery ends with gunfire and blood, and the pair of crooks escape with all the stolen money to lay low in the city.
Soon, a pair of New York cops are hot on the case. Captain Mattelli (Anthony Quinn) and Lieutenant Pope (Yaphet Kotto) are an unlikely duo as both have different personalities and work methods. But as they investigate, their paths and findings continue to cross over. Soon, these two cops learn that the crooks are trying to rip off the Mafia, which could start a gang war on the streets. The question is, who will find the criminals with the stolen cash first? The police officers or the Mafia who have a thirst for revenge?
Across 110th Street is best described as a drama story with gangs and criminal activity. We see the film through various characters and angles, including the cops, the Mafia and the criminals attempting to stay alive with their ultimate cash score. The majority of the characters are exciting and interesting, including the two leading officers. We learn quickly that Captain Mattelli (Anthony Quinn) and Lieutenant Pope (Yaphet Kotto) have different opinions and methods. Most times, the two don’t agree or see eye to eye, which causes tension and friction. One thing the two do share is the case, and the film asks whether these two can put aside their differences and crack the case to prevent war. Meanwhile, the Mafia is violent and brutal and has one objective: to get their money back, gladly killing and murdering anyone who stands in their way.
Pacing, for the most part, is great. It is enjoyable seeing the various angles of the story and the different characters. But the plot has a process that feels somewhat repetitive as the film moves forward. This is particularly evident when the Mafia asks questions, ending the questions with violence or a brutal death, and their next step to finding the cash. I found the film’s heavy dialogue more impressive to experience than the violence. There were many tense moments, such as the interrogation scenes. If you enjoy films that feel real, raw and brutal, look no further.
Overall, this is an engaging crime story with many brutal moments and unexpected outcomes. The performances here are generally solid, but the dialogue is more impressive, feeling authentic and tense. I enjoyed the concept of how one bad crime can have a major ripple effect and disastrous consequences within a large city, especially if the two leading police officers fail to catch and stop the criminals. It’s a fascinating classic, and I feel it’s worth a look, even if it doesn’t warrant repeated viewings once you know the outcomes of all the different characters within the story.