At the time of making “Mikey and Nicky”, Falk and Cassavetes, I would say, were at the top of their game. Since 1968, Falk had been starring in his own popular TV series Columbo, and during that same time, Cassavetes had made six indie films, two starring Falk, including “A Woman Under the Influence,” for which Cassavetes was nominated for an Academy Award as best director.
“Mikey and Nicky” is a two-man story of Nicky who, fearing his mobster boss is going to have him killed, reaches out to his old friend, Mikey for help. But then Nicky not only refuses to listen to Mikey, but also mocks and belittles him to the point where Mikey gives up on Nicky. But Mikey is not a good guy and has an agenda of his own.
Falk and Cassavetes do some high-wire acting here, where either or both of them could fall off at any moment. Too many of the scenes nearly come apart. Too many are long and a little tedious. But strangely they add up by revealing the two men and causing the viewer to care about them.
Is “Mikey and Nicky” a great film? Hardly. Is it an easy film to watch? No way. Is it worth a look? You bet.
(I would like to thank Juri of Pulpetti for reviewing this film a couple of weeks ago and for reminding me that despite being a fan of both Falk and Cassavetes, I had never seen it. “Mikey and Nicky” is a hard film to find, but there is a poor quality video of it currently on YouTube.)
(For more overlooked films, check out Todd Mason's blog.)