Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story Starring: James Woods, Penelope Ann Miller, Michelle Nolden Director: Robert Dornhelm The film: Love him or loathe him, there are a few things you have to give former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani credit for. He stood up to the mafia. He cleaned up New York's streets - making it a safer place to visit, and call home. And, in the horror of 9/11, he was an inspiration to a city brought to its knees. But before the Twin Towers tumbled, how well known was he outside the United States? A study of his life might not have families in Hong Kong scurrying for the sofa, but a few factors lift this release above your average made-for-TV fodder. First, there's the filmmaker's ploy of splicing actual footage with video of James Woods playing Giuliani as he races to the stricken World Trade Centre. It makes for compelling viewing, even if the dialogue is at times on the wooden side. Then there's Woods himself. He gives a mesmerising performance from start to finish. Rudy is worth seeking out for this point alone. Thankfully, seasoned TV director Robert Dornhelm resisted making a paean to Giuliani as it charts his progress from Miami attorney to New York hero. We see him through all his affairs, mistakes and misdemeanours, as well as his triumphs. He will get on your nerves - as the man himself did for thousands during his time in office. The support cast is trapped in Woods' shadow, although Penelope Ann Miller (as his second wife) soldiers on valiantly with what little she is given. This is no big-budget Hollywood production, but as far as character-driven drama goes, it can hold its head high. An interesting footnote to the project is that Woods alerted US authorities to four suspicious men who shared his flight from Boston to LA in August 2001. As it turned out, the four were among the 9/11 hijackers, and had used that flight as a practice run. The extras: Oddly, this local release contains none of the extras available with the US package. The verdict: Not too bad for a night in.