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Overall Rating
2.76

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 36%
Just Average: 8%
Pretty Crappy52%
Sucks: 4%

3 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Pride and Glory
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Not-So-True Blue"
2 stars

Every once in a while, a movie studio will produce a new film and then, after looking it over, decide that it either needs a lot of work in order to make it into something that will succeed in the marketplace or that it is beyond repair and pull it from the release schedule while sticking it on their in-house Island of Misfit Movies. In many cases, such moves are barely noticed outside of the industry but if the film in question comes from a director whose previous efforts have met with critical acclaim, you will often find a mini-controversy erupting as an impassioned critic excoriates the venal studio weasels while praising both the filmmaker and the film to the skies, even if they haven’t actually seen the movie in question yet. It is a great scenario except for one little problem--for all the times that the studio swine have inexplicably treated a wonderful film in such a shabby manner, there are an equal number of times in which it has turned out that the studio people were correct after all and that the film inn question was kind of a dog that fully deserved to sit on a shelf and gather dust. Unfortunately, the new cop drama “Pride And Glory,” a film that was produced and shelved a couple of years ago by the now-defunct New Line Pictures and has only been brought to light because the studio was taken over by Warner Brothers, is a grim example of the latter. Despite the presence of a top-notch cast including Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight and such behind-the-scenes talent as director Gavin O’Connor (who did the acclaimed indie “Tumbleweeds” and the surprisingly effective hockey drama “Miracle”) and co-writer Joe Carnahan (the mind behind “Narc” and “Smokin Aces”), this is the kind of ridiculously routine by-the-number police procedural that is available on TV for free every week and the sight of such talented actors following in lockstep to such a familiar narrative is almost too depressing to comprehend.

Set In New York City, the film opens with a rough-and-tumble football game between local cops and detectives that is interrupted by the news that four police officers have been found brutally murdered in what appears to have been a shootout with some thugs that went horribly and violently wrong. Idealistic Detective Ray Tierney (Norton) is asked by his father (Voight), the Chief of Police, to head up the investigation into the shootings by solemnly intoning “I want cops we can trust.” Now you and I both know that whenever someone like Jon Voight says that he needs cops that he can trust, that is a tip-off that he is involved with a mass of corruption and shame that any detective worth his salt would do anything to stay far away from. Alas, Ray doesn’t yet realize that he is in a derivative cop film and so he grudgingly accepts the task and sure enough, it doesn’t take him long to discover that the four dead men served In the same squad as his brother, Francis (Noah Emmerich) and his brother-in-law Jimmy (Farrell). Not only that, it appears that Jimmy has been involved with dirty dealings with local thugs for years now and that those associations are beginning to spiral violently out of control. After getting irrevocable proof of what Jimmy is up to, Ray has to decide whether to sweep everything under the rug or turn his family members in to pay for their actions--regardless of what choice he makes, we get the sense that the next family get-together is going to be on the tense side either way.

At this point, some of you may be wondering if I am deliberately leaving out a few plot details so as not to spoil your enjoyment of the film--surely this collection of talent wouldn’t have signed up to do a project with a plot that sounds like the kind of assembly-line fodder that one might ordinarily see in a below-average episode of “Hunter.” Sad to say, that is pretty much the entire narrative that O’Connor and Carnahan have cooked up here and the only things that I have left out are additional clichés that are so old and hackneyed that you might have thought that they had been retired years ago--the whole extended family is Irish (specifically, the kind of keening and drinking Movie Irish that you usually only see in bad genre films), Francis is partially driven to do his dark deeds because of anguish over his wife’s terminal cancer and at certain points, the characters actually utter lines such as “You were my brother, Jimmy” and “You broke our hearts.” Now an abundance of clichés is not necessarily a bad thing for a film as long as the filmmakers recognize them as such and try to build upon them instead of simply succumbing to them. For example, last year saw the release of James Grey’s “We Own the Night,” a cop drama with a plotline that had been seen countless times before. To his credit, though, Gray did something with those familiar tropes and while the end product was hardly a font of originality, it was done with enough skill energy so that you were able to occasionally forget just how profoundly unoriginal the whole thing was. By comparison, the screenplay for “Pride and Glory” just seems as if O’Connor and Carnahan were simply too lazy to think of anything new and assumed that if they threw enough unmotivated nastiness into the mix (such as Colin Farrell threatening an infant with a hot iron), no one would notice.

Sadly, the gifted actors assembled here seem to have likewise not bothered to do anything to overcome the clichés that they have been dealt. As the conflicted heart of the story, Edward Norton is almost shockingly banal. Sure, he has been in more than his share of bad movies over the last few years but even in those, you usually got the sense that he was at least up there trying to make something out of the material. Here, he just coasts through the material with an utter lack of conviction that suggests this was nothing more to him than a straightforward paycheck job. As the emotionally volatile guy whose sense of guilt is beginning to drive him over the edge, Colin Farrell fares a little better but is hampered by the fact that within the last year or so, audiences have seen him do much better variation of this particular character type in “Cassandra’s Dream” and “In Bruges.” (To be fair, he probably filmed this one before shooting those two, which suggests that he does have the ability to shape and refine a character given enough time.)

On the bright side, at least those two don’t actively embarrass themselves or their careers, which is more than I can say for the risible contributions from Jon Voight. Once one of the most skilled and subtle actors around (and still capable of showing that side, as anyone who caught him in “Heat” and “The General” can attest), he now seems to play every role in the broadest and blusteriest manner possible as if he is trying to play not only to the people in all the other theaters at the multiplex. When such an approach is appropriate (as it was in his legendarily oddball turn in “Anaconda” and his take on Howard Cosell in “Ali”), the results can be impressive but when it isn’t, the right take, as it surely isn’t here, the results can be mortifying--he screams, carouses and plays drunk with the kind of shamelessness that you usually only encounter in high-school productions. Let me put it this way--within a few days of seeing Voight in this film, I saw him in “An American Carol,” the failed David Zucker satire that has him playing George Washington and excoriating a Michael Moore stand-in amidst the dust and wreckage of the World Trade Center towers by personally placing all the blame for 9/11 on his shoulders. Now that performance is more embarrassingly over-the-top than the one that he delivers here but the scary thing is that it really isn’t that much more embarrassing. The movie may be titled “Pride and Glory” but those are two words that I would be hard-pressed to apply to either Voight’s performance or the film as a whole.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16858&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/24/08 00:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell good best i remember 4 stars
1/31/11 Rita P fuck, fuck, fuck...give the screenwriters a thesaurus...PLEASE. 2 stars
2/19/10 carol miles I wish I had the rights to the word fuck, this pc would have made me rich. 3 stars
2/01/09 action movie fan overwrought language and acting.awkward pacing but good story and good cast help 3 stars
11/05/08 ankit An Unforgettable Crime Drama Pride and Glory would have to be up there on the year's top 10 4 stars
10/28/08 PAUL SHORTT CONSTRUCTED ALMOST ENTIRELY OUT OF COP-DRAMA CLICHES 1 stars
10/25/08 mr.mike While never boring , it hurdles towards an ending that increasingly strains credibility. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Oct-2008 (R)
  DVD: 27-Jan-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Oct-2008
  DVD: 20-Jan-2009



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