Director: Gavin O Connor
Cast: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich
Storyline: When four cops are found dead and an honest cop is called upon to investigate, he realises he would be stirring up a hornet’s nest – a corrupt NYPD.
Bottomline: A cop action drama closer to We Own The Night than The Departed
And, The Godfather continues to inspire family-based crime dramas.
Only that here, the patriarch is a retired police officer (and hence, much weaker), his sons are police-men too (here they have personal issues to deal with) and the man married to his daughter seems to be the trouble-maker (the proverbial rotten apple).
Now, imagine Jon Voight (as an alcoholic father losing control of his family), Edward Norton (as the younger son on the brink of divorce after standing up for his family) and Noah Emmerich (as the older son who heads the Precinct) and Colin Farrell as the corrupt cop who will stop at nothing.
Explosive material indeed but the filmmaker Gavin O Connor does not want this to be a mere action film, he wants the poignancy of a family drama too and it’s a tough balancing act.
So there are spurts of intense action and graphic violence (an iron box held to an infant’s face), punctuated by the sentimental, emotional scenes of the characters dealing with their family issues and to the director’s credit, he ensures that the tension is always brewing as the honest cop gets closer and closer to the killer, only to realise that the enemy is closer home.
Gavin O Connor (he’s collaborated with writer Joe Carnahan on the script) employs the boat-house-with-a-leak metaphor for the situation. We learn that the father had put a carpet over the hole on the boat his younger son is living in after having had to separate from his wife, we are shown that the honest son is unable to sleep because he wants to plug the leak first.
Just to make sure you get the metaphor, towards the end of the film, Jon Voight spells it out for you: “We got a hole that needs to be plugged up before it takes down half the department.”
The central characters have support systems that also happen to personify the ill-health of their morals (the elder son’s wife is dying of an incurable disease, the younger son’s wife does not want to talk to him because he covered up for the sake of loyalty to his family and the sister is happily married with kids and they are doing well because her husband is a corrupt cop).
Well, not too classy as far as storytelling goes now, is it?
But it’s still immensely watchable for the performances – Norton looks effectively scarred and sincere, Voight is a picture of helplessness while Emmerich portrays a steely cop with resolve on the outside when he’s actually quite vulnerable and Colin Farrell turns in a powerhouse performance as the tough-as-nails corrupt cop.
There’s plenty of unwarranted swearing in the film and we can blame that on Scorcese’s contribution to crime stories that continue to inspire a new breed of filmmakers to talk foul.
Pride and Glory is strictly for those who do not find anything wrong with two men settling it the good-old fashioned way – fisticuffs.