Pride and GloryOverview -
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
It's never a good sign when a movie is pushed back, rescheduled, shelved, then released in theaters only to have a terrible run. Not only that, but another film called 'We Own the Night' had just made its run through theaters with the exact same storyline.
'Pride and Glory' boasts two heavyweight actors in Edward Norton and Colin Farrell. Like a recent police drama I reviewed, 'Righteous Kill,' 'Pride and Glory' can't be pulled out of the mundane lifelessness just by the talented actors, and a really stellar supporting cast.
The Tierney family is blue through and through. The father, Francis Tierney (Jon Voight), is a high ranking official in the NYPD. He's also raised two of his sons Ray (Edward Norton) and Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) to be cops. Jimmy Eagan (Colin Farrell) is married to the Tierney's sister, making him part of the family, or as they're so fond of saying, "You're like a brother to me Jimmy."
The movie begins as Ray is walking to a police sponsored football game that Jimmy is playing in. There's plenty of scenes with Jimmy looking tough in his football uniform, calling out the plays to his teammates. We already know he's a tough-as-nails cop who's not going to take any crap from anyone.
Then an emergency call is placed. The Tierney boys rush to a scene where a team of cops are found shot to death, along with a few suspects. This throws the precinct into a tailspin. Everyone is blaming everyone, but Jimmy seems to be the one most on edge. It's because he knows the men who were killed, but there's something else. Something Jimmy seems to know that we don't.
Ray works the murders. He's been riding a desk for a while, but comes out into the field to find out what happened to his fellow cops. The deeper he gets, the more dirt he finds out about Jimmy and about his own family.
It's fairly easy to see the end coming. There are a few scenes where Norton and Farrell really feel like they're giving it their all, but the script is weak and lacks any sort of originality. We've seen this story before and would probably be surprised if it ended any other way.
The film does have a realistic feel to it, which is a plus. No big, unrealistic shoot outs or car chases, just a lot of character interaction. It's a shame that all the characters are just cookie-cutter, cop movie, clichés.
It's hard to recommend this film because it's so generic. It doesn't have an original bone in its body. The ultimate ending seems out of place, almost as if it were an afterthought. Like they were looking to end the movie and that's the only thing they could think of. Overall, it's just a disappointment. You get a sense that there could, maybe, be something here, buried deep down, but it never shows its head, so we're just stuck with another predictable procedural police drama.
Much like the film, this 1.85:1 1080p VC-1 encoded transfer is, as some would say, "meh." It's bland at best. The camera work tends more towards the handheld style of filming, and at times the "shaky-cam." While I personally am completely sick of the "shaky-cam" style of filming, I'll say it works here, to a degree. It does give the film a more real, gritty feel. It represents the chaos taking place in the lives of police officers in New York. The handheld camera is especially prevalent when the brothers first arrive on the scene of the dead police officers. The film also has its share of grain. In some scenes the grain adds to that gritty feel, and that's fine, but at other times it's like a sandstorm, especially on a few close-ups.
The contrast also suffers a bit. The blacks blend at night, and the bright white snow seems a bit oversaturated, almost blinding. In the daylight, textures and patterns fair a little better. Stripped shirts and the brick-work of New York are fairly well detailed. The most detail comes in a scene where we see Jimmy and his officers driving out into a secluded, wooded area. The bare trees are extremely detailed, and clear. Although, when they light a car ablaze the reds and oranges of the fire burn too brightly and seem to wash each other out.
Get a real good listen for the first three minutes of the film, because that's the best sound you're ever going to hear in it. As Ray is walking to the football game you can hear the crowd cheering in the rear channels. Even the football game, crashing helmets and shoulder pads, has an immersive feel to it. Once the dialogue starts it's all over the place. The directionality is less than desirable and most of the dialogue is way too soft. The sub is almost silent, except for the few times it's called upon.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 setup here is a complete disappointment. Man is the directionality bad, but I guess that Warner/New Line didn't really want to take their time with this one anyway. Just another film that was rushed onto Blu-ray to hopefully make a quick buck.
One, count'em, one special feature is included on this disc. It's a good thing it's a good feature. With the minimal amount of time that must have gone into trying to make the video and audio decent, I have to wonder where this feature came from.
- Source of Pride (SD, 1hr 7min) - Here you have a
one hour, making-of documentary, with director Gavin O'Conner as your
guide. Truthfully, this supplement is more interesting than the film
itself. O'Conner talks, in-depth, of what it's like to work with
Edward Norton and how demanding he really is. It turns out that Norton
was really involved with this project. During the doc you feel as if it's almost Norton's baby, his pet project, and he wants everything
to be as authentic as possible. We also find out that Nick Nolte was
originally cast as Francis Tierney, but Jon Voight was used to replace
him after Nolte dropped off the project due to medical reasons.
O'Connor also discusses the difficulties and trials the film had in
pre-production, production, and post-production. It was basically
plagued with problems, which might account for the finished product.
This feature really does give a lot of deep insight into what it was
like to work on this film, and gives a glimpse of what the filmmakers
and crew had in mind for it. It's too bad it was mired in problems and
set-backs. Maybe we would've gotten a more engaging drama. Instead the
real drama is seen in this feature, the drama behind the drama. It's
some good stuff.
This is just one of those films that had really bad timing. The filming was put-off, rescheduled, and then once the film was made it was shelved only to see the light of day when Warner took over New Line's material. It was a labor of love for both O'Connor and Norton, but even with all that love the movie still comes off as flat and predictable. The performances by Norton and Farrell are good enough, and will appease their fans. But, the story and character development really suffer. The making-of doc is the most interesting part on this disc, but it still isn't good enough to warrant a purchase.
For the fans of Norton, Farrell, or Voight I'd say give it a rent. Anyone else out there, even police drama fans, can skip this one, especially since the video and audio quality do not live up to the expectations of what we've come to expect from Blu-ray.
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