PRIDE AND GLORY
Four New York City cops are killed in an ambush that has the entire police department on alert and on edge. With a cop killer on the loose and so much riding on the case, Chief of Manhattan Detectives Francis Tierney, Sr. (Jon Voight) asks his talented son, Detective Ray Tierney (Edward Norton), to lead the investigation, even though he's been out of active duty for two years, after an event that has scarred the family. Reluctantly Ray takes over the case knowing the cops who were lost had served under his brother, Francis Jr (Noah Emmerich), and alongside his brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell). On the surface, it looks like a routine drug bust gone terribly wrong. But as Ray delves deeper into the case, he learns that someone tipped off the drug dealers that the cops were coming.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Like We Own the Night (2007), Pride and Glory is a police corruption story boosted with the extra drama of family involvement - on opposite sides of the law. The scenario gives the filmmakers the opportunity to explore the notion of family loyalty stretched across the morality of right and wrong on a large scale. And while it's predictable, it's also escapist entertainment.
Much of the dialogue in the first half is virtually unintelligible and plot a mess, with matching hand held camerawork. But once Gavin O'Connor gets into the meat of the themes and the plot proper, he steadies the camera, clarifies the plot and lets us hear the characters speak. It much improves our experience. All that's left to make a further improvement would be a more disciplined approach to the storytelling that results in a shorter, tighter, punchier film. And I don't mean punchier in terms of its violence, which is sufficient (as is the use of profanities) but in terms of storytelling.
But the film's flaws are plastered over by a top cast delivering engaging characters; Edward Norton's talent for internalising and carrying tension is well utilised as Ray, while Colin Farrell makes an edgy Jimmy, the brother in law who is more like brother outlaw ... despite his cop's badge and uniform. Excellent work, too, from Noah Emmerich as Ray's brother, who comes the closes to showing us some of the grey areas of the moral divide. Much like most mainstream movies, the bad guys are exaggerated for dramatic effect (and to avoid our sympathies when they get their punishment) and the good guys remain firmly grounded on the moral high ground.
But to its face saving credit the screenplay does hint at the often impossible conflict of police work with restrained procedure; as Jimmy spits out at one point, if only the public could see how "these sleazebags live" ... there may be more sympathy for cops who take the law into their own hands. To balance this potentially negative theme, we see the repudiation of police corruption in terms that hit home: as sworn guardians of the peace and protection of the citizens, cops who go bad stand more condemned than those who took no such oath.
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PRIDE AND GLORY (MA15+)
CAST: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich, Jennifer Ehle, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Frank Grillo, Lake Bell
PRODUCER: Gregory O'Connor
DIRECTOR: Gavin O'Connor
SCRIPT: Joe Carnahan & Gavin O'Connor
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Declan Quinn
EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin, John Gilroy
MUSIC: Mark Isham
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Leigh
RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 5, 2009
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.