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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.
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.
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.
~~ Jules Brenner