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Vol. LXII, No. 44
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

WOULD YOU BLOW THE WHISTLE ON ME?: Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell, left) is stunned when he realizes that his brother-in-law Ray (Edward Norton) has uncovered an extensive web of corruption in his precinct that involves not only Jimmy, but Ray’s older brother Frank Jr. (Noah Emmerich, not shown) and that, if exposed to the public, would tear the local police precinct apart.

Honest Cop Tested by Blue Wall of Silence in Crime Saga

Kam Williams

The Tierneys are a tightly knit Irish-American clan with a long history of service in the New York Police Department. The family patriarch Francis (Jon Voight) is a highly regarded retired police chief who has preserved his connections to the upper echelons of the department. Frank, Jr. (Noah Emmerich), is a respected precinct commander in Manhattan, while his younger brother Ray (Edward Norton) is a former narcotics division officer who was relegated to a desk job after an incident in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx that stalled his career and cost him his marriage. Their brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell), is a crooked patrolman working under Frank, Jr. whose unlawful ways are about to catch up with him sooner than Frank would like.

Just after the movie opens, the festive Christmas season is abruptly spoiled when four officers are murdered during a drug bust gone bad inside a seedy Washington Heights apartment. Frank, Sr. immediately urges Ray to return to the streets to join the special task force that is being formed to search for the cop killers, since the men who died were all under his big brother’s command.

Ray does so reluctantly, expecting that the trail will lead to some sleazy street punks. However, when it winds up implicating his fellow officers, including his own brother and brother-in-law, he finds himself having to make some difficult decisions. The last time he had been in a similar situation, he had compromised his ethics by lying under oath to protect a cop who was on the take. That’s when he lost the respect of his wife (Carmen Ejogo) and consequently was forced to live by himself on a leaky houseboat.

This time, the stakes are even higher, because Ray has uncovered a widespread pattern of corruption that indicates that the entire precinct might be in cahoots with the mobsters who are wreaking havoc on the local neighborhood. When he tries to bring the facts to the attention of the department brass, he’s met with the subtle suggestion that they’d prefer for him not to breach the Blue Wall of Silence.

So, will Ray play ball and participate in another cover-up, or will he testify truthfully, and thereby risk tearing both his family and the precinct apart? That is the question addressed in Pride and Glory, a gritty, inner-city saga directed by Gavin O’Connor.

The movie could be compared to The Departed, which won an Oscar for best picture, but Pride and Glory is simply too formulaic and cliché-ridden to measure up favorably.

Nonetheless, Pride and Glory does have a talented cast; which includes Noah Emmerich, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Rick Gonzalez, and Wayne Duvall; that manages to elevate the script to an acceptable level. Edward Norton is the standout here, turning in an inspired performance as Ray, a complicated soul in search of redemption who is ready to mix it up with the bad guys and beg his ex-wife for a second chance.

Very Good (2½stars). Rated R for profanity, graphic violence and drug use. Running time: 129 minutes. Studio: New Line Cinema.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

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