A saga centered on a multi"generational family of New York City Police officers. The family's moral codes are tested when Ray Tierney, investigates a case that reveals an incendiary police corruption scandal involving his own brother"in"law. For Ray, the truth is revelatory, a Pandora's Box that threatens to upend not only the Tierney legacy but the entire NYPD.

1
Screen cop cliches come thick and fast.

If you are a fan of police stories (and I am) there are certain story conventions and plot sign posts that you quickly become familiar with over time. Like say, for instance, that it is rare in movies (and life) for cops to be 'hit'. Assaulted, caught in a crossfire, shot in a stakeout or strike, yes, but assassinated? No.

So, when watching this New York policier, I got impatient early on because it opens with not one cop murder but a quartet of them. Uniform cops too, not even detectives. I knew then I was watching a movie about corruption and I knew too, the script by Joe Carnahan was going to be heavy on the exposition, as in, What kind of nasty double dealing would lead to the murder of four uniform police? The answer turns out to be not very interesting and as a consequence neither is the film.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor, Pride and Glory is big on the kind of 'atmospherics' that went out of fashion once NYPD Blue faded away from prime time; grubby colour, restless camera work, mumbled dialogue (though here heavily freighted with expletives) and lots of violent encounters. And shouting. O’Connor is the kind of director here who reckons the louder the actors get the more 'intense' things are.

And they’re good actors, too, Jon Voight playing an old timer determined to let the bad guys fall, no matter the cost to family and personal honour; Ed Norton, as a world-weary policeman who dislikes the rough and tumble and murky morality of street cop life and Colin Farrell, a cop who looks like a heavy the moment he steps on screen so there’s no surprises there when it turns out that he is one. Farrell can be terrific but here he not only chews the scenery he’s like an unleashed dog trying to rip out Good Guy Ed Norton’s throat (he’s supposed to be 'tortured’).

As grumpy as this review sounds, its not the material, the characters and the milieu here that are the problem; I mean Training Day was just as routine, but it had story, and insight, and a certain ironic charm. It was about something; as in corruption is taught and learned. Pride and Glory sinks most of all under the weight of its earnest dissertation about honest cops who are never rewarded, while the compromisers and clock watchers get the goodies. But there’s nothing here about why and how people are turned. The assumption is that those that fall under the spell of easy money do so because they are not only desperate but also 'bad'.

Worst of all, Pride and Glory is conservative; once again it hauls out the hoary old showbiz gag that 'one man can make a difference." I thought this kind of pious posturing was put to rest with The Wire.

Details

MA15+
2 hours 10 min
Thu, 08/20/2009 - 11

Genres