"Pride and Glory": There's no "Glory" in this grisly bore
"Pride and Glory": This strained, self-congratulatory police drama stars Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight in a story of corruption and family.
Special to The Seattle Times
"Pride and Glory," with Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich. Directed by Gavin O'Connor, from a screenplay by O'Connor and Joe Carnahan. 125 minutes. Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language and brief drug content. Several theaters.
An unexceptional police drama that doesn't live up to its high ambition, "Pride and Glory" feels like a television cop show that made it through one season before disappearing.
Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight star in a long drama about the Tierney family of New York City, one of those Irish-American clans built around generations of law enforcement. Voight plays patriarch Francis Sr., chief of Manhattan detectives, who prevails upon his son Ray (Norton) to lead an investigation into the murder of four officers.
Ray's efforts reveal a scandal centered around his brother-in-law, Jimmy (Farrell), a crooked cop working under the command of Ray's blissfully ignorant brother, Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich). The more Ray pushes, the more Jimmy's life unravels and people start getting hurt. Complicating matters is Francis Jr.'s unwillingness to get his police under control, and Francis Sr.'s insistence that protecting his family and the NYPD come before anything else.
The script is essentially a collaboration between the film's director, Gavin O'Connor ("Miracle"), and Joe Carnahan ("Narc"). Their story foolishly emphasizes a prescribed narrative shape, leading inexorably to a prefabricated finale, over good storytelling choices and transitions. They're forced to bridge sections of the tale with such cartoonish elements as an intrepid reporter who explains Ray's back story aloud.
The whole idea of "Pride and Glory" is that the combination of spiraling chaos, blind loyalty and family secrets is destined to impact an entire community. We've seen all this before, and while there's nothing wrong with that, there isn't anything unique or deep offered here.
There are several scenes of de rigueur grisliness in "Pride and Glory," of course. But there is also one inexcusable moment involving a baby and a hot iron. No, the little character doesn't get hurt, but the real-life infant in the scene is clearly in distress. The image of Farrell holding a steaming iron (prop or not) within inches of the child's face makes one want to commit a little R-rated violence on the filmmakers for their self-congratulatory "edginess."
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