The ghost of Al Pacinos Frank Serpico is unfortunately all over every frame of the Cop drama Pride and Glory. The Edward Norton/Colin Farrell vehicle is a serviceable enough movie featuring New Yorks Finest, with plenty of gritty locations and shootouts, dirty cops and family rivalries, but everything thats great about this movie youve already seen in other Cop movies before it. Serpico would have been proud to serve next to Norton’s cop, a man of honor. Even though weve seen this story time and again, you could do a lot worse than Pride and Glory and for fans of the genre this may be right up your alley.
The best thing about the picture are the headlining performances, especially from Norton, who’s seemed to been able to make a career out these roles where he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Authenticity isnt really a problem here, as every moment hes doing police work he seems an old hand at the job hes doing. Even better he really sells this tortured character; a man who was born to be a cop and was a superstar at it but one that was ultimately crushed by the choices hes made in his career. This bleeds through in every scene, from his disconnection of family and friends to the way he carries himself when doing his detective work, trying to get all of his old instincts back.
Farrell also brings a good game to the picture as well. His turn as a cop with a dark side seems to fit him like a glove, but so do the more personal moments with his family, when you see the pride he feels being amongst other cops that protect and serve. Theres a dichotomy to this character that doesnt necessarily turn him into an out and out villain like he could be, which makes him all the more interesting. Its too bad that the movies predictability is what lets him and Norton down in the end though.
Despite great moments with both leads, as well as others like Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich, the movie just never really grabs you like it should. Oh sure, this is watchable the whole way through, and if youre a fan of films like Serpico or The French Connection or even a more recent picture like Narc (whose director, Joe Carnahan, wrote Pride and Glory) or The Departed, this might serve as a nice distraction
Ultimately youre left with a movie that gets left in the dust by the aforementioned masterpieces, or even great TV Cop dramas like The Shield or The Wire. Its just that every time the film seems to build to a great moment or pick up any steam, it seems to stop in its tracks or it takes a road already well traveled and theres only so much ground these actors can make up for.
Whether the film is all that great is disputable, but the print on this disc is another matter entirely. This is terrific work by New Line, whose given us a pretty beautiful looking transfer onto this Blu-ray disc. The image is heavily detailed, preserving the gritty photography of the film while still giving you a pretty crisp image.
The sound here is also fantastic, as shots ring out with heavy authority here and the movies score gets to boom especially when the more Celtic themes are going.
Source of Pride: The Making of Pride and Glory – The only extra present on this Blu-ray disc is a 67-minute documentary Source of Pride, which believe or not is a pretty fascinating piece in and of itself. The documentary is full of interviews with the cast and crew, especially Director Gavin OConnor, who talks at great lengths about making the film as accurate as possible, as his dad was a cop and he didnt want to make a movie that dishonored his service. The best bits of this doc have to do with the members of the cast who go to a tactical school with real cops and learn about trying to survive shootouts and what its like to spot criminals on the streets. Again, the documentary is pretty terrific, and may actually be better than the film itself.
Pride and Glory is certainly watchable all the way through, but never gets anywhere close to greatness. Genre fans will find things to like, and you get really compelling performances from pretty much everyone, but the movie never pulls you anywhere you dont expect.
New Line Cinema presents Pride and Glory. Directed by Gavin OConnor. Starring Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, John Voight, and Noah Emmerich. Written by Joe Carnahan & Gavin O’Connor. Running time: 130 minutes. Rated R. Released on Blu-ray: January 27, 2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Jon Voight