Pride and Glory would be a pretty cool movie if it were made in 1982. We could get all postmodern-Tarantino about it and celebrate the cliches, skip the boring drawn-out dialogue scenes, and watch only the parts that are crazy and violent and ridiculous. Unfortunately, Pride and Glory was made in 2008, and while nobody's asking this textbook crime drama...read more
Pride and Glory would be a pretty cool movie if it were made in 1982. We could get all postmodern-Tarantino about it and celebrate the cliches, skip the boring drawn-out dialogue scenes, and watch only the parts that are crazy and violent and ridiculous. Unfortunately, Pride and Glory was made in 2008, and while nobody's asking this textbook crime drama to reach for Scorsese-esque levels of greatness, most people would still ask it to not be terrible, which it is.
Ed Norton stars as Ray Tierney, a cop who's been working off the beat since some vaguely alluded-to problems occurred two years earlier. Together with his dad, Francis (John Voight); his brother, Frannie (Noah Emmerich); and his brother-in-law, Jimmy (Colin Farrell), they are a prototypical Irish cop family, complete with alcoholism, bad Brooklyn accents, and a culturally insulated sense of entitlement. When a shooting involving a Hispanic drug kingpin named (of course) Angel lands four officers under Frannie's command in body bags, daddy convinces Ray to come out of pseudo-retirement to investigate the case. He, of course, quickly uncovers an orgy of police corruption tracing back to Jimmy, and to the same old warped hyper-moralistic ideals that cops always employ in movies to justify this stuff, where the family/brotherhood/mick enclave is worth dying for, and the criminal/brown/poor people aren't worth more than extortion money.
If this makes it sound like Pride and Glory illustrates something broad or meaningful, then that's my fault because it really doesn't. This story has been told a zillion times over already -- which is fine when the movie is just there to keep you entertained, but this one doesn't. It drags on and on, like the only way they knew how to balance out the outrageous and violent stuff (Which is virtually the only time things get consistently interesting. Check in the background of the scene where the baby gets threatened and you'll see a puppy -- a baby and a puppy, both in danger! Stay tuned!) was to throw in weirdly intimate scenes with characters we don't know or care about (Frannie's wife is dying of cancer, apparently) and elongate the in-between moments to the point where it feels like the actors are improvising dialogue on-stage to stall for somebody who missed a cue.
For a while, Ed Norton kind of carries the movie. It turns out Ray is in the middle of a divorce, which is why he's living in his boat (the East Coast cop movie equivalent of a trailer in the desert), and Norton has the presence (and the knack for pathos) to underplay it. But this can't last. After a while, things just get too ridiculous -- but not entertainingly ridiculous, just ridiculous enough to take all attention away from the pensive main character. By the time Jimmy gets punched in the face with a cue ball (which subsequently rolls by in the foreground, all wonderfully bloody and gross), you're just mad that any wild or creative stuff that ended up in this movie didn't end up in something better. But who knows, maybe after 20 years it'll become a classic to catch on Sunday-afternoon TV -- but only with the message "edited for boringness."
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