Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) would love to be a cop in New York but – being deaf in one ear is resigned to being a Sheriff in New Jersey. As such he is a harmless figure of ridicule to the cops who live in his home town but work across the Hudson River. He sees the opportunity to get his own back when Internal Affairs enlists him on a special assignment.

By
David Stratton

1 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM  UPDATED 1 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM

4
An intriguing, intelligent modern noir.

Copland is set in Garrison, New Jersey, a pleasant, tree-lined little town situated right across the Hudson River from New York City. Half the people who live there seem to be cops – cops who work in the city but who live in this peaceful backwater where the local sheriff, Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone), seldom has anything more dangerous to do than sort out domestic arguments or tick off naughty school children. But one night an off-duty cop, Murray Babitch (Michael Rapaport) driving home to Garrison over the George Washington Bridge, is confronted by what he believes to be a couple of black guys with a gun – he kills them, only to discover they were actually unarmed. Murray's in trouble, but luckily for him his uncle, Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), isn't above fixing the evidence – and that's when Internal Affairs officer Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) starts asking questions...

Copland is the second feature directed by James Mangold, who previously made the interesting independent production, Heavy. Essentially, it's a modern western, with Heflin the troubled lawman who, through no fault of his own, has always been a failure and now has to make a great moral decision.

Stallone gives a very decent performance, but then all the actors in Copland – many of them very experienced at this sort of thing – do excellent work. The small-town setting is atmospherically depicted, and there's a rich gallery of interesting characters – I haven't even mentioned Ray Liotta as a disenchanted cop.

The climax is perhaps rather too conventionally staged, but generally Copland is an intriguing, intelligent modern noir.

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Details

MA15+
1 hour 44 min

Genres