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Cinema Signal:

Fathers and Daughters:
In Their Own Words
by Mariana Cook
(Discounted Paperback from Amazon)
. "Pride and Glory"

A crime drama with a title like this, about a family of cops discovering corruption in its ranks, with a cast of accomplished actors capable of expressing fury and rage, co-written, directed and produced by two sons of cops, and you're bound to come up with something very muscular. This expose' of cops in bed with criminals is also aided and abetted by the intensity and pace in the directing. There's only one problem: we've been on this turf before, and more than once.

Unfortunately, familiarity breeds dilution, against which the aforesaid filmmakers do their due diligence with closer combat, tougher resistance and deep familial issues. Or, so they try to do. Even if you sigh at the police protecting their own against all morality and justice, the takeaway is the intensity of the performance level. These boys are in their thespianic comfort zone. Which, of course, might not be enough for those whose taste runs to more original fare.

Much--in Chief Francis Tierney Sr.'s (Jon Voight) division of Manhattan Detectives--has been going on among his boys and below the radar. But when a drug deal that was to have been busted up by members of his elder son Francis Jr.'s (Noah Emmerich) squad results, instead, in a bloody ambush, to the tune of four dead cops, uppermost on Sr.'s mind is to find the shooter behind the carnage.

With the prospect of a cop killer running loose and knowing full well that his son Ray (Edward Norton) is the smartest of his detective/sons, and despite the fact that, due to a prior tragedy Ray has been working on missing persons in order to avoid street work, he has to beat the drum of family fealty in order to convince Ray to take the lead in the investigation. This is not only bad for Ray because of unpreparedness to resume such duties, but also because the case is so interwoven with his family. There are hornet's nests and there are family hornet's nests.

An ambush means that there was a tipster involved, someone on the inside. And, when the trail takes Ray to participation in the tragedy by brother-in-law Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell) who is married to his sister Megan (Lake Bell), a whole new order of priorities takes over. It's all so larger-than-themselves, and potentially ruinous to their assumptions of pride and glory, that they're constantly asking, "okay, what do we do now?"

So now the real conflict gets deep into the doodoo of coverup and self protection before public justice, with the stakes in working it out very high. As the finger of responsibility points inward, what hangs in the balance is getting culpable family members out of it with the least possible blame and/or loss of job. Jimmy, arguably the toughest and most sociopathic of the bunch, takes betrayal as his way out while others go the suicide route. We're in a realm, here, where menace and brutality tear lives and standards of decency apart.

So shortly after "Gone Baby Gone," a corrupt cop drama that differs from this one in being set in Boston and, more recently "We Own the Night" --such a close parallel to this story that it caused a delay in releasing this-- the feeling of deja vu is as strong as the smell of cordite on the firing range. Worse, as highly paced and played as it is, it's too predictable to be given the weight of importance promised by the heavyweights in the cast.

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The Soundtrack

Production values are pro, paying off with hard edged, low key lighting of interiors by Declan Quinn, an Irish cinematographer entirely at home with this creative team. Similarly contributory to the bloodscape and turmoil is composer Mark Isham's richly suggestive score which is right there to heighten the sense of danger, such as when penetrating a killer-occupied building with only a gun.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

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Opinion Section
Comments from readers:
Well written
This review will influence me to read more by this reviewer and to see this movie.
Site rating: 6

Pretty well written review, only issue I have is at Rotten Tomatoes there seems to be a mistake, your review is "Rotten" yet after reading this review I have a feeling that might have been a mistake. The review seems rather positive.
Also just wanted to say I absolutely love "Gone Baby Gone," an amazing movie. And I've been a fan of Farrell's work since In Bruges. Been a fan of Norton ever since his first movie, Primal Fear.

                                                           ~~ Bardia 
[Ed. note: There are some movies that have positive elements but don't rate a high recommendation. On balance, the over-familiarity with the dirty cop theme brings it down. It got a green-amber Cinema Signal light, meaning that it will please some audiences but too limited for the pure green. Thanks much to Bardia for his thoughtful feedback.]

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Colin Farrell and Edward Norton, Jr.
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