Viewed – 04 December 2011 Blu-ray
Ensemble character pieces like this can be very rewarding; multiple plot threads that effect one another, leading to a powerful conclusion. Movies like Pulp Fiction and the multi-oscar winning Crash are fine examples of this, and so the question here is – can this entry offer up the same?
Richard Gere is a patrol cop nearing retirement, whose career has all been about avoiding danger, leaving him more of an empty shell than that of a Cop with something to be proud of. Don Cheadle is an undercover cop questioning his loyalties to his gangster friend and his duties as a Police Officer, whilst Ethan Hawke is a desperate detective with money problems, who finds himself turning to increasingly dangerous methods in order to move house and help his asthmatic, pregnant wife.
As the movie progressed, I found myself initially absorbed by both Don Cheadle’s situation and that of Gere, but Ethan Hawk’s actions just puzzled me, considering his situation wasn’t exactly life and death. It blighted what is otherwise a well acted and mildly-gripping thriller, with a particularly strong turn from Cheadle, who I have always enjoyed. Even the washed up has-been Gere was good, if a touch difficult to sympathise with.
Director Antoine Fuqua’s well-shot and stylish movie seems to have aspirations to be the next Oscar-magnet, but with characters that are mostly unlikable, a smattering of clichés and a message than clearly isn’t saying much more than ‘its a dangerous job being a cop’, this really doesn’t offer up anything we haven’t seen done a lot better elsewhere.
Verdict: 2.5 /5
The characters aren’t ‘bad guys’ so you want them to succeed, you’re cheering for them to overcome the odds and as the movie wears on you begin to lose hope, much like the characters themselves. I wouldn’t normally watch a movie like this but I’m glad I did because I had a great time. Good review.
I thoroughly enjoyed Brooklyn’s Finest. I think the general consensus of the majority were off base on this one. I just cannot see any glaring issues here.
Sure, these are cliche characters, but this is an exercise in genre filmmaking. Genres are an important part of cinema, it’s what you do with those genre conventions that make your film worthwhile.