Movie Review for Pride and Glory

Copped Out

Pride and Glory

Crime, Drama | R-13 | 2 hrs 10 min
Pride and Glory feels like a whole bunch of other films before it. It is yet another by the numbers cop family drama where a detective has to make a tough choice regarding some sort of police corruption. It’s the kind of thing that ought to draw out little more than a profound indifference in people. Strong directing gives the movie some life, but in the end, it just feels unnecessary.

Ray Tierney is a police detective from a family of cops who’s been on hiatus from work after his involvement in a police scandal shakes him up. He’s brought back to work by his father to lead a task force investigating the shooting of four police officers. But what Ray uncovers in the course of his investigation is a link to widespread police corruption that involves his brother-in-law and may cost his older brother his career as a police officer. As the city grows angry for answers, Ray is forced to make a difficult choice: to do the right thing, or to stay loyal to his family.

The main problem with Pride and Glory is that it feels entirely too familiar. Movies about cop families and their struggles with loyalty and duty are a dime a dozen, and this movie doesn’t really add anything to the genre. The film doesn’t even have the good sense to paint some deeper shades of gray, making the main character’s struggle feel somewhat anticlimactic. A movie like this needs a lot more internal conflict in order to be remotely compelling. Instead, the movie just takes things to insane extremes that only serve to make the choice seem a lot less genuine. Who’s going to side with the guy that threatens to burn a baby with a hot iron? Not anyone, and that’s the problem.

Where the film gets some points back is in the direction. Gavin O’Connor injects this tired story with a lot of energy, successfully portraying the heightened tensions of the city in the story. The handheld camera work is electrifying, and at times, it’s clever enough to bring a breath of fresh air to these well-worn scenes. The cast is pretty formidable, but the choices made here are as unimaginative as the plot. Had there been a little more nuance in these performances, then maybe the actors could have made things seem a little fresher, but no one took any risks. How many angry intellectuals does Edward Norton have to play? Will Colin Farrell ever run out of bluster? Will he ever tone his shtick down and give us more human characters to relate to? Jon Voight is yet another grizzled veteran who’s seen too much and is willing to bend the truth for the benefit of those he’s loyal to. There’s nothing particularly wrong with anything they’re doing: it’s just that they’re bringing nothing new to these characters. Their performances are interchangeable with every other police procedural ever made, and in a world where every other TV show is a police procedural, why do we need another one in a movie theater?

In the end, Pride and Glory isn’t particularly bad. It’s just uninspired, and these days, that’s just not good enough. You might already be paying for cable, and the wealth of police procedurals should be enough to keep you from needing to see this movie. Cops that do shady things in the line of duty? Try The Shield instead. Cop family drama? Look out for We Own the Night on HBO. Got a DVD player? Try picking up a season of The Wire. There are a whole lot of cops in entertainment. We don’t quite need this bunch.

My Rating:

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