This 1988 feature recounts the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were persuaded by gamblers to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Baseball fans might find this marginally absorbing; for anyone else it's as conscientious and stylistically pedestrian as director John Sayles's other films, and a mite overlong to boot. Sayles seems more comfortable with the ballplayers than with the gangsters; his handling of the narrative is more dutiful than inspired. On the whole this is well intentioned to the point of tedium. Sayles adapted Eliot Asinof's 1963 book of the same title; the competent cast includes John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Christopher Lloyd, John Mahoney, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, D.B. Sweeney, Richard Edson, Kevin Tighe, Barbara Garrick, Studs Terkel enjoying himself as journalist Hugh Fullerton, and Sayles himself playing Fullerton's pal Ring Lardner.
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