There's a familiarity to Pride and Glory that, depending on your perspective, could be either horrendously tiresome or part of the charm. By all accounts it's a middling film, an overwrought and occasionally laughable corrupt cop drama that you've seen countless times. But for me, going back to this world of divided loyalties, broken oaths, outraged good guys, and "we protect our own" machismo was like settling into a comfortable recliner. An extremely comfortable one, actually: Pride and Glory is moody, attractive and well-acted. I think director Gavin O'Connor intended it to be grim and upsetting, but at best it's pulpy entertainment, a highly watchable series of well-worn, well-executed clichés.
The closest recent analogue to Pride and Glory is probably James Gray's far superior We Own the Night. There, too, father and son cops wrestle with their commitments to each other, their families, themselves, and the often abstract notion of being policemen. In O'Connor's film, these themes play out along thoroughly conventional lines. Edward Norton and Noah Emmerich play brothers; Emmerich's Francis is a respected commanding officer, while Norton's Ray, despite his talent and promise, has relegated himself to Missing Persons after an initially-unspecified Traumatic Incident some years back. Their Dad, Francis Sr. (Jon Voight), is an experienced careerist who has worked his way up through the ranks. When a failed drug bust results in the shooting death of four officers, Ray brings himself out of self-imposed semi-retirement to investigate – but his sleuthing leads him to a corrupt cabal that may include his brother and longtime family friend Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell).