Despite starring Ed Norton, Colin Farrell, Noah Emmerich and Jon Voight, Pride and Glory failed to register with audiences and critics alike, leading it to debut unceremoniously on DVD a couple months ago. Nevertheless, Pride and Glory is a surprisingly decent cop drama.
In Pride and Glory, several police officers are gunned down by an unknown assailant, launching a massive manhunt and investigation. Ray Tierney (Norton) is brought in at the request of his father, Francis Tierney, Sr. (Voight), to lead the investigation, but the facts soon point to his own brother-in-law Jimmy Eagan (Farrell) and his crew of renegade cops. To complicate matters further, Jimmy works under the command of Francis Tierney, Jr. (Emmerich), Ray's brother. In an environment where loyalty outweighs justice and family outweighs loyalty, Ray finds himself in an impossible position: expose the truth, or protect his family.
The premise of Pride and Glory is an intriguing one, and is properly executed by writer/director Gavin O'Connor. Co-written by Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin' Aces), Pride and Glory is a surprisingly complex, gritty drama with strong acting and a great array of characters.
Nevertheless, as different as it is from other cop movies, it still struggles to set itself apart. Even if they aren't, many elements of the film feel routine. The ending digresses into a rather so-so climax, though it certainly could have been worse. More importantly, had the writers focused a little more on the mystery surrounding the shootings, they could have made the big twist - that Farrell is in fact the bad guy - a mindblower. As is, it comes too early and with too little fanfare - in fact, the reason I say it so plainly here is that this "twist" was shown in the previews. Lastly, Farrell's character is a bit too much black and white; whereas all of the other characters seem to be struggling with the situation, Farrell's never seems torn or disturbed by what he's done.
Pride and Glory is much better than other critics made it out to be. It's smart, edgy and well-acted; it just lacks that extra oomph to push it to the next level. For those who like cop dramas, you shouldn't underestimate a movie written by Carnahan and starring Norton, Farrell and Voight.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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