Dutch Treat

Even if it weren't for the strong performances and Tom Stoppard's surprisingly direct script, Billy Bathgate dispenses enough sensual pleasures to last a lifetime. The cinematography comes courtesy of the great Nestor Almendros, and Benton's film may sound better than any movie this year, from the sulfurous sizzle of every struck match stick to the slip of stocking against stocking that marks Drew's walk. Feel free to test this perfect-sound hypothesis. But don't keep your eyes closed too long.

BILLY BATHGATE
Directed by Robert Benton; screenplay by Tom Stoppard from the novel by E.L. Doctorow; with Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Loren Dean, Bruce Willis, Steven Hill, Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucci, Robert Raiford, Kip Newton, and Kas Self.

Rated R.

Opens Friday at major theaters in Dade and Broward counties.

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