October 26, 2008

Cops, Bullets, Corruption, and Swear Words!

It's a fairly uncommon thing to see a good, compelling cop drama these days, what with the influx of stinkers like Street Kings and Max Payne hitting cinemas like an infectious disease. Which makes all the more refreshing and awesome when a somewhat decent one comes along. The last great one was The Departed, and, while the new movie, Pride and Glory, is not as good as the 2006 Best Picture winner, it is certainly the best come along since then.
Pride and Glory tells the story of three cops. Brothers Ray and Francis Tierney, and their brother in law, Jimmy Egan. When four cops who are under Francis' command wind up dead in a raid gone wrong, all three begin investigating, each with different motives. Ray is squeaky clean cop who would turn himself in if he did something "not by the book." Francis wants to find the killer for personal reasons, seeing as the men died under his command. Jimmy, on the other hand, is going after the killer for different reasons. I give away nothing by telling you that Jimmy and his crew are more crooked then a fault line. Soon, Ray discovers this, and is then faced with the dilemma of taking down his sister's husband or covering it up so everyone can go home happy. The story was written by director Gavin O' Connor and Smokin' Aces writer Joe Carnahan. If Quentin Tarantino wrote a cop procedural, this would be it. The dialogue is fast and furious, and full of the f-bomb. There are some elements that seem a little out of place, like how every junkie on the street seems to know where the bad guys are, and the bar room brawl/city wide riot of a conclusion seems a tad conventional, but all the gripes can be forgiven when the story and characters are this deep. 
The casting is great here. Edward Norton plays Ray. He does a fantastic job and is able to display some shocking depth as everything falls apart around him. It's great to see him bounce back after the disappointment of The Incredible Hulk. Colin Farrell plays Jimmy. With this and In Bruges in February, he is having a career year. He is at one point a family man with two kids and a loving wife, and at the next, a sadistic, financially motivated enforcer who is willing to deform a baby to get information. I'm serious about that, by the way. Noah Emmerich plays Francis. He is also on a winning streak with his work here and in Little Children in 2006. He is very good as the guy whose motivations are never clear. You never really know if he is crooked or not. Jon Voight plays their father and police captain. He is pretty much just the voice of reason as these three brothers destroy their lives. All the leads are very good, and they make the premise seems very believable. 
Director Gavin O' Connor does a great job for a first timer into this genre. His last movie was the hockey picture Miracle, and that breathed new life into the uplifting sports drama. He must like to take a tired and worn out genre and give it a new edge. And guess what. He's two for two. He employs some really good use of the shaky camera technique, a really good color palette, and the appropriate amount of bullet in head violence. The violence is not drawn out, and it comes in sudden, brutal, increments. It worked in Scorcese movies like The Departed, and it works here. Come to think of it, if O' Connor keeps it up with these type of cop dramas, he could very well become the next Scorcese. He certainly has the chops to do so. 
Pride and Glory is, hands down, a good movie, and certainly the best of it's type to come around since Leo and Matt tore up Boston in The Departed. I am worried that, with all the popular movies like Saw V and High School Musical 3 coming out, that this will be overshadowed and passed over. I pity anyone who does not seek it out. It is well worth your time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment