Movie Review for Pride and Glory (2008)

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Review #708 of 365
Movie Review of Pride and Glory (2008) [R] 125 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $11.00
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When Seen: 21 October 2008 @ 7:00 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits: there is nothing
Unsung Member of the Crew: Storyboard Artist – Patrick Campbell

Soundtrack: Download now from Mark Isham - Pride and Glory (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Gavin O'Connor (Miracle)
Screenplay by: Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces) • Gavin O'Connor (Murphy's Dozen) with story by Gavin O'Connor, Greg O'Connor, and Robert Hopes

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Colin Farrell (In Bruges) • Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk) • Jon Voight (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) • Noah Emmerich (Little Children) • Jennifer Ehle (Before the Rains) • Lake Bell (What Happens in Vegas) • Carmen Ejogo (The Brave One)

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First of all, don't believe the advertising campaigns for this film. It's certainly not the most original cop drama in years. With all due respect to the leading principle actors, Pride and Glory is not even the sloppy seconds left over after The Departed which really was the most original cop drama in years if you don't consider it was a remake of a Chinese film. It's fairly obvious that the makers of this twice-delayed film began to think that, maybe, just maybe, it had some Academy Award® potential and thought that releasing it in October would do it better than releasing it in February. Well, no matter when you release it, the film's story does not warrant much attention. Certainly the acting is better than the story, but both Colin Farrell and Edward Norton have had better roles and given better performances even this year (Mr. Farrell in In Bruges and Mr. Norton in (The Incredible Hulk—yeah, believe it). Pride and Glory is an over-hyped, overly repugnant, cop drama. It's not a thriller. There's no mystery, no twists and turns. It's pretty straight forward in fact. Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) is a desk jockey cop who's taken a back seat after a botched raid of some sort we only get an inkling as to what happened via inference and stories told later—like the scar on his cheek was from a bullet graze etc. He comes from a family of NYPD cops: father Francis Tierney, Sr. (John Voight) is a higher up, brother Francis Tierney, Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is a commander, and Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell) is the brother-in-law and a narcotic task force cop of some sort. The film's principle action begins when four coups are found dead in an apartment, the victims of an apparent ambush that occurred during a Police Department vs. Fire Department football game. Francis Sr. wants Ray to join the investigative task force feeling that he's one of the best detectives out there not doing anything useful with is life. Ray's reluctant but caves to his father's demands. Ray doesn't know what's going on, but we soon learn that Jimmy and his cronies are dirty cops who sold their badges to the highest bidder. [Now, had this detail been kept from us until the end, it might have made for a stronger film. But, as it is, nope!] Unfortunately for Jimmy, a guy named Angel Tezo will eventually bring down his entire operation for it will be Jimmy's illegal pursuits of Angel and the attention drawn that ultimately brings Ray to have to make some very difficult decisions—why they would be so difficult is supposed to be part of the conflict of the story because, after all a cop would not want to have to turn in his own brother-in-law, right? "Protect our own" is the code Francis, Sr. dishes on a silver platitude. No doubt there are dirty cops out there, but Jimmy's team pushes the notion to new extremes. These men operate on their own laws robbing convenience stores and most shockingly threatening infants with steam irons to get information from informants. These are very, very bad men. Ultimately, however, the 'meat' or substance of the story supposedly arrives in the internal conflicts of family vs. the code among police vs. plain old-fashioned justice. In the end, it's not all that interesting, thought provoking, or worthwhile.

As mentioned, sure, Colin Farrell's and Edward Norton's portrayals are spot on. But, you'd expect this from these two. Actually, Norton's role could have been played by just about anyone. It's not a terribly challenging role. Not like the roles in the aforementioned The Departed where there were layers and complexities. Ray's a pretty straight forward guy. He believes in the truth and sticks by it. Jimmy Egan is a bonafide psychopath who's convinced himself that what he does is okay because he only makes $65K a year and that's two-weeks pay for a guy on the street.

… an average episode of "Law & Order" has a better, more compelling storyline.
He's malevolent and brutal. Colin Farrell's interpretation of him pulls a lot of his usual complexities. He knows how to make a guy look painfully remorseful; it's something in his eyes. The role is more worthy of his talents than Norton's. Honestly though, when it comes to acting, Noah Emmerich's role is the most complex and interesting made more so by the fact that his character's wife, Abby (Jennifer Ehle) is dying of cancer. The addition of this dimension, however, is poorly used to excuse why it's ok that Francis, Jr. doesn't really know what's going on in his own unit. [Nice, blame it on his wife's cancer why don't you!]

Gavin O'Connor's directing was well executed. The film looks gritty and raw. Still, the bottom line on Pride and Glory is that an average episode of "Law & Order" has a better, more compelling storyline.

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Cast Members
Colin FarrellEdward NortonJon Voight
Noah EmmerichJennifer EhleLake Bell
Carmen Ejogo
Gavin O'Connor
Joe CarnahanGavin O'Connor

Review-lite Pride and Glory (2008) [max of 150 words]
Gavin O'Connor's directing was well executed. The film looks gritty and raw. Still, the bottom line on Pride and Glory is that an average episode of "Law & Order" has a better, more compelling storyline.

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