Pride and Glory: A Tale of Bad Cops - Part I
In this first installment of this two part series, including the film, "Changeling," we are driven head first into the gritty world of the streets of the Bronx and the other outer Burroughs of New York City. As the willing or unwilling passenger within the confines of this errant dramatic vehicle, you best buckle-up and prepare yourself for a wild ride into the world of crooked cops and other really malevolent people. And then there are the criminals.
The criminals are some really bad people to their contemporaries and others; however, it is difficult to distinguish who possesses the proverbial higher ground between them and this rogue band of "New York's Finest." The film begins innocently enough with an organized game of football (complete with coaches, pads and pain) between "New York's Finest" and the Chicago PD.
While the game is played, another more dangerous game is being played out in a dilapidated brownstone in the Bronx - bust the dealers and steal their drugs and money. The problem is: the dealers are tipped off, are ready for the intruders and then the bad cops die. At that point in the film, however, the audience does not know that they are bad cops, we just know that they're dead cops. And what happens when cops die? Let's leave it at the fact that their contemporaries become highly motivated, and justifiably so.
Herein is the conflict between good and evil: there is no good or evil - only bad or worse. It is up to the audience to sort out who are the villains when the manure hit's the fan and surely it does. In this power play of the low and lower devoid of any semblance of real humanity, Colin Farrell portrays with malevolent ferocity, Jimmy Eagan, the enforcer / leader of the rouge cops. His band of bad cops do as they wish and with results: "crime is down, collars are up and we take what we want." The problem for Jimmy is: Edward Norton, who is the not so bad cop Ray Tierney, discovers this evil under the guise of the NYPD and will not let this continue. Another conflict, and this is a big one: Jimmy and Ray are the very best of friends ("family").
Director Gavin O'Connor is adept at steering his audience down this dangerous to the dark dank depths of human spirit, or lack thereof. The balance of the acting is more than competent, but be warned: this world is not a pretty picture and venture forward at your own risk for you spend 129 minutes in their special Hell.
Released January 29, 2009. Rated R.