Its value is unquestionable as drama and moral provocation. show more
Gritty, jumpy and rife with cliches. show more
The stark drama harkens back to Sidney Lumet classics like "Serpico" and "Prince of the City"-filmmaking that went after an unadorned, jagged realism, with acting to match. show more
This is one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen and I didn't see it in a movie theater... I saw it on my TV during a late night scroll through what was available. It gripped me so much... from the deaths of four officers to the very end. When you first hear that FOUR officers have been downed it's a terrible shock to the system... but as you follow the movie and see what has transpired and follow through further to what will transpire... well, it's a gripping movie. And the torment that Ray Tierney [Norton] felt... his loyalty to his family and to the job he once loved. He was great. And Jimmy Egan [Farrell], a man to be loved and hated... loved because he was such a loving guy... family oriented, doing his best in a world he did not create but certainly became a big part of. His loving ways with his children and his wife... heartwarming. But then there's Jimmy Egan the Sgt. Crass, ************ his way through the job, making 65K a year [and then some],,, his scene in the bathroom with Frannie Tierney [Emmerich] was bold but totally believable. I've known cops like that. I knew and know cops who are just like him... I'm from a family of police officers and this movie had the ring of truth to it as many, many others have failed at depicting the moral conflicts. Let me tell you how much I've loved this movie... I've seen it over 50 times...
Limited screenings generally means one of two things in the movie industry: 1. It is a new release with a lot of hype potential that will explode late in the year to a huge audience or, 2. It didn't work out so well and nobody is showing it anymore. I'm not sure this particular movie falls under either category, oddly enough, so I'll create a third: 3. Wonderful gem, with little or no hype, that has been passed by and sent to die a slow death in dark movie houses with artificial popcorn and less than 80 seats per screen. It would be easy to dismiss this film as just another in a long line of dirty cops getting what they deserve, but that would be a terrible injustice. Wedged within 120 minutes are some truly spectacular performances, including more than one Oscar-worthy role. The scene is New York City and the Tierney family is mixed up in varying degrees with shady cop business. From the very beginning we get what is arguably Jon Voight's finest performance in long-term memory as Francis Tierney, Sr., long time NY police office. I have no other word to describe it than gritty, for he really captures the feel of what it must be to oversee a family of cops in NY, hardened by the job but clinging to the self-imposed necessity to protect the family name. His sons Ray Tierney (Norton) and Francis Tierney, Jr. (Emmerich), and step-son Jimmy Egan (Farrell) are tough cops, each with his own demons to fight.The amazing aspect of this film is that at no point can I clearly say who the story is about, and that leaves an impression on me, even now, as I think back to what I saw, that seemingly feels correct. A lot happens in 2 hours, and when you catch on to the director's vision it doesn't feel right to pick Ed Norton's character as the driving force, although it would seem like the way to go.This film is about ethics and morals and codes and bad cops and varying degrees of right and wrong, but it is also very much about family, in a twisted and seedy way. Norton is fabulous in this role as the tormented son who made a tough decision years ago that still haunts him. It is ultimately he who pursues the clues that lead him to unthinkable crimes within the precinct and ultimately his own family.Farrell, likewise, puts on a seamless portrayal of a cop with a family trying to get by, and I quickly was able to forget previous roles he played and immerse myself in his character as the step-son with a lot of skeletons to hide. The surprise role to me was that of Emmerich, playing the ambitious son who rose through the ranks, and now must face the consequences of his actions. Known well to me for two outstanding roles in Beautiful Girls (1996) and The Truman Show (1998), both as the best friend, if I had a vote in the Academy he would get a first ballot nod for Best-Supporting Actor, as his role really cements the family together and ties the story into one cohesive unit. Out of space..
I really enjoyed this movie but there were parts where the F-word was used non-stop. The story itself was very interesting though. The relationship between the father and his two sons, who were all cops, was very complex and made for a compelling story.