Review: Pride and Glory
PLOT: After four New York City police officers are killed in an ambush, an investigation leads to a possible narc within the department. When Detective Ray Tierney takes on the case at his fathers bidding, he begins to question his own family and their involvement in some questionable tactics. The closer he gets to the truth, secrets are revealed and lives may be destroyed. This includes his father and his brothers and sisters as all of it may connect to the ones he loves.
Over the past year, Colin Farrell has taken on roles that are far more personal and frankly, more interesting. With CASSANDRAS DREAM and IN BRUGES, he has raised the bar on the type of work he is doing. He continues with PRIDE AND GLORY, alongside Edward Norton and Jon Voight. While not quite the drama it wants to be, the three stars elevate this tale of police corruption above the slightly generic formula. In fact, only last year, WE OWN THE NIGHT hit and missed with audiences and it dealt with a similar theme. But with the recent news of tazering gone wrong in the police force, Pride and Glory feels much more relevant than it should. Director Gavin OConnor (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Carnahan) tells a tale that is clichéd and also a bit pessimistic.
When four men in blue are killed after what should have been a routine drug bust, questions are raised. It seems someone had tipped off the drug dealers that the police were on their way. This raises questions of who told the bad guys. And this may just lead to someone on the inside. I would talk more about what happens after but since the film is fairly predictable, Ill skip all that. But it all boils down to a family of cops. Jon Voight plays Francis Tierney, Sr., a man whose family have all been police officers. Although Detective Ray Tierney has found his way out of his fathers shadow and left the precinct, he agrees to investigate the killings. Once on board, he finds that there are many secrets between the officers working under this precinct. You know, sort of like We Own The Night and quite a few other films of this ilk.
Yet Pride and Glory is rich with atmosphere as the family tries to mend after the tragedy. For this, OConnor has a terrific eye and is able to immerse himself in their world. And what a dark world it is. Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell) is married to one of Francis daughters, the painfully underused Lake Bell. The two have children and a hopeful future. While Francis Tierney, Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is dealing with his own families fate involving his cancer stricken wife Abby (Jennifer Ehle). In fact, that is probably the most painful and downright heartbreaking story in the film. And thanks to Ms. Ehles performance, she gets a ton more mileage than most of the supporting roles. Abby questions what her husband is involved in and is terrified what may happen to her children when she dies. I think a movie just based on this relationship would have been much stronger and more heartfelt then the main issue of possible corrupt cops.
But even with the clichés, I really enjoyed the grounded work that each of the main actors offer. This is a film that carefully balances between right and wrong but frankly, shows more of the injustice and corruption. It is a very grim look at those men protecting our streets. If it hadnt been Voight, Emmerich, Farrell and Norton, Im not sure it would have worked quite as well as it sometimes does. But with that, aside from Jennifer Ehle, both Farrell and Voight show the most passion. Father and son-in-law offer both menace and vulnerability as their characters grow throughout the film. In one shockingly intense scene, Farrell wants to get someone to talk, he does so with the means of someones baby and a hot iron. As I mentioned, Farrell is taking on much more interesting roles than MIAMI VICE and S.W.A.T. He does terrific work here.
While not as powerful and as complex as it wants to be, Pride and Glory is a good family drama that is exceptionally cast. It is made up of moments that are truly terrific, but the glue the holds it together is a bit delicate and predictable. In the final moments of the film, while lacking in originality, it did offer up a fitting enough conclusion. But too often the script fails to really deliver as compelling a film as it could have been. Too many clichés bring the film down a notch, but thankfully, OConnor is able to keep it moving. Maybe this is not a must see at your local Cineplex, but it is still worth watching (and even enjoying) for some really strong performances. My rating 7/10 -- JimmyO
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