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Pride And Glory (2008)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios Special Edition)
Genres:
Drama, Family Drama, Police Drama
Director:
Gavin O'Connor Gavin O'Connor
Starring:
Colin Farrell Colin Farrell
Edward Norton Edward Norton
Jon Voight Jon Voight
Noah Emmerich Noah Emmerich
Jennifer Ehle Jennifer Ehle

6.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 28, 2008
There's a moment in "Pride and Glory" when an Irish fight song starts playing on the jukebox at the local bar called Irish Eyes and the two lead characters put down their guns, raise their fists and engage in a balls-to-the-wall brawl with fists and pool balls and glasses of lager. It's your typical European custom rearing its ugly head in the American mainstream. The only problem - I had no idea the characters were Irish. Sure, their last names were Tiernan and that might have been a clue, but they sure don't act Irish. They don't seen to have any sort of Irish traditions and the most Irish thing about them is Colin Farrell's unibrow. "Pride and Glory", the film, is forgettable. It's very melodramatic, very hamfisted and very 'on the page'. There's no real tension or suspense because we know who the bad guy is right out of the gate. And not long after we find out who is, so does one of the other main characters so the suspense is gone of 'will they find out'. "Pride and Glory" wants to be this hard-hitting cop drama about police corruption, family values and social unrest. It wants to be so much more than its rudimentary script would allow it. "Pride and Glory" feels like each and every cop drama we've seen in the past decade, and feels inferior to most of them. Because it does not care enough about its audience, it might be one of the worst films of the year.

Set in New York City, "Pride and Glory" follows the Tiernans, a family of cops who have been doing good and fighting the bad guys for years. Ray (Edward Norton) now works in missing persons after a tragic mistake sent him before the Grand Jury; Francis (Noah Emmerich) runs his unit and takes pride in his men and the work they do; Jimmy (Colin Farrell), a brother through marriage, is a sergeant with a hot temper; and Francis Sr. (Jon Voight), is a high ranking officer who loves his sons more than life itself. The film opens with four police officers being gunned down during a drug bust. Ray is appointed to the task force to discover who was responsible for tipping the dealers off to the cops showing up. It is soon discover that Jimmy was to blame because he has been involved in shady dealings for a while and one of his men tipped off the dealer. Francis discovers this and has to decide what to do with Jimmy and his men, even as Jimmy has threatened to frame Ray for what could be considered torture and homicide. All the while, Jon Voight's character is pleading for his sons to do the right thing, even though taking advice from a logical alcoholic seems a little bizarre. There is also a side plot with Francis's wife (Jennifer Ehle), who is dying of cancer. Oh, did I mention that there is a suicide, a gang riot and a baby nearly burned with an iron?

What is this film trying to accomplish? At first we think it's going to be about family values, but it's pretty clear that this family doesn't have any values. They all seem so self-righteous and try to come across like they're doing the right thing, but none of them are. They are only looking out for themselves. The film even tries to come across as a murder mystery. Guess what - there is no mystery. Director Gavin O'Connor decided it would be best for us to discover this mystery before the foundations are even set up completely. "Pride and Glory" made me remember "The Departed" and how fantastic that film was. That was a real cop drama. Maybe it was the fact that it came from one of the greatest directors of all-time, Martin Scorsese. I like to think it also had something to do with a fantastic script. "Pride and Glory" isn't given that. We're given the same approach as we've seen to every other cop drama of late, including the dreadful "Righteous Kill". We just don't care about these characters because the whole idea is that cops are better than we are and more loyal than we are and more worthy of life and connections and favors than we are. It's a job. Yes, it's a more difficult job than others, but it's a job. You do your job and you go home and you get your check. I understand the whole life and death thing, but when you have characters this ugly, who cares?

As for performances, I am just not sure what in the hell Edward Norton was doing here. He was once notorious for being so selective with his scripts and now it seems like he has abandoned that selection process for the Jon Voight 'anything goes' rule of thumb. Norton just sleepwalks through this role, and when he tries to muster some emotion at the end, it comes off as laughable. And it pains me to say that about an amazing actor like Edward Norton. Colin Farrell plays the same damned role he always plays, and his scene in the apartment with the baby is just sick. And there is nothing about his portrayal of that character that would lead me to believe that he would do something like that. It felt like the director thought it would simply be one of those water cooler scenes for the office gossip. Jon Voight is so bad here is the father of the group. When Jon Voight acts drunk, the whole world knows it. Has the man ever gotten skunked before? Does he not know what it feels like? As old as he is, one would think so. The highlight from all the performances is the always underrated Noah Emmerich in what should have been the lead role. His character is given some attention and some back story and some home fire. We want to know more about his dying wife. We want to know more about his involvement. We get none of that.

That was the biggest problem with "Pride and Glory" - it didn't answer any questions. We never find out Francis's full involvement with the corruption. We never find out all the details to the case that sent Edward Norton to missing persons. We never find out what started Colin Farrell down the road of greed and corruption. We never find out what part the reporter had in anything. I hate films that treat the audience like they don't deserve any better - we're just going to slop something out there for you and hope you enjoy it. If you don't, so what? "Pride and Glory" is disrespectful to the audience. When those two characters brought up their fists and started brawling, everyone in the audience seemed just as stunned as I was. Why were they doing that? When did they become such hardcore Irish fighters? Hell, when did they become Irish? "Pride and Glory" is bad. It's a shame on all accounts. It just goes to show that you can have all the pedigree in the world, but if you don't have a script and you don't have a clue, you just wind up being utterly forgettable.

2/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 01/31/2010, 08:49 PM
I think I enjoyed this a little more than Meanie, but yes, it was very forgettable. One of those movies you see and don't even mention to the guys at work the next day.

4/10
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