2008 - United States - 130 minutes
Director - Gavin O'Connor
Writers - Joe Carnahan and Gavin O'Connor
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars
Dramas about the New York City police department are prolific with a fair share being about corruption in the force. This is one of the best. Add to this the element of a police family, and you have some engrossing entertainment.
The story starts with the death of four police officers during a drug bust. Ray Tierney was a rising star in the department, but for reasons to be disclosed in the course of the film has assumed a non-starter position in the missing person’s squad. Ray is convinced by his father, Francis Tierney, Sr. - a high ranking member of the department - to take on the investigation of the murders of the officers. All of the officers involved - both living and dead - are members of the precinct headed by Ray’s older brother, Francis, Jr. Ray’s sister is married to Jimmy Eagan, one of the officers in Francis, Jr’s command. The members of this police family lead the viewer through a labyrinth of murder and dishonesty.
One of the things I liked about this film is that the viewer knows who the good guys are and who the bad guys are almost from the very beginning. There are shades of gray along the way, but the two sides of the incidents basically remain the same. This is a break from this genre of film as most of their ilks keep the viewer guessing to the end. Instead, Pride and Glory holds your interest by investing you in the lives of the characters, be they good, bad, or gray. Adding a reasonable plot, tight directing, and superior acting, and you have a most enjoyable film.
Three powerful actors head an extremely competent cast. Jon Voight is right on as the patriarch who drinks too much but is loyal to his sons and son-in-law. Edward Norton is both tough and intuitive as the man put in the middle. Colin Farrell shines as the Jekyll/Hyde cop who is a loving family man but a brute on the street. Add to these powerhouses sensitive performances from actors such as Noah Emmerich as Francis, Jr. and John Ortiz as a cop in the precinct, and you get a movie that shines through the performances of its actors.
Pride and Glory is brutal, profane, and heartbreaking, but it is surely not a film to be missed.
January 31, 2009