Of the many movies released in December of 2002, probably one of the littlest known films is Narc, a cop drama that deserves much more recognition. Starring Jason Patric and Ray Liotta, Narc is a dark and gritty revenge film that is intriguing from beginning to end.
Patric stars as an ex-undercover narcotics agent who has been unemployed since he was terminated for accidentally shooting a pregnant woman in the hip. One day, he is called into examine and investigate a case, with the endgame being a desk job and a reinstatement on the force. He has been hired to find the killers of another undercover police officer, who was brutally beaten and shot to death. Patric is teamed with Liotta, who plays the late cop's ex-partner. Liotta is a little off his rocker and a little emotional about the situation, and will go to any length, including bending the law, to bring justice to the men responsible.
While the acting is terrific from the two stars, the real power of the film comes from the work of Joe Carnahan, who wrote and directed. Carnahan has created a gritty and dark world where the line between cops and bad guys is relatively faded, and where it isn't necessarily clear who is on what side. The dialogue is stunning, and the direction is even better; the story rocks through vivid scene after vivid scene, with the piercingly amazing soundtrack helping it along.
While technicalities aren't everything, the sound in Narc is impressive, to say the least. In many ways, the sound makes the movie. It sets the mood, pace and foreshadowings of the film.
Nevertheless, Narc isn't for everyone. It is a very dark, brooding drama with a fair amount of violence. It is similar in many ways to Training Day, but not to the point at which it can easily be compared; Narc is even darker and approaches police corruption in a much different way.
Narc is an exceptionally well done movie with a good plot and a powerful and suspenseful climax. It lags in a few parts, but mostly keeps its pace.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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