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Pride and Glory (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 124 minutes.

This movie was a long time coming. Originally scheduled to star Russell Crowe, it was torpedoed by the events of 9/11. Who wants to make an anti-NYPD story after that? Clearly, nobody.

But now itís finally gotten made, maybe in a different iteration, but with a terrific cast, headed by Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, and Jon Voight. The story of an Irish family of NYPD cops, headed by Chief of Manhattan Detectives Francis Tierney, Sr. (Voight). His two sons, both detectives, Ray (Norton) and Francis, Jr. (Noah Emmerich) are members of the NYPD, as is his son-in-law, Jimmy Egan (Farrell). After four members of Francis, Jr.ís crew are murdered by a notorious gang member, Francis Sr. asks Ray to head the investigation. It suddenly becomes clear that Jimmy and his cohorts, all under Francis, Jr., are as bad as cops can get.

The main problem I had with this film was its pace. Itís got terrific acting by everyone, but when director Gavin OíConnor (the son of a NYPD cop, from a smart script by Joe Carnahan and OíConnor), delves into the Tierney familyís personal life, the pace lags. Thereís a B story about Francis, Jr.ís wife, Abby (Jennifer Ehle) who is in the last stages of a battle with cancer. Sheís obviously inserted in the story to add to the pressure heaped upon Francisí head and a dose of pathos that the film doesnít need. While the dichotomy between loyalty to job and loyalty to family is appropriate, still every time the film switched to the Tierney family, pace slowed and my attention flagged.

Other than that, this is a fine story of a well-meaning Irish family and how things can turn sour when itís penetrated by one bad apple. Itís a tense story of mixed loyalties, expertly told.

Norton and Farrell give their usual exceptional performances. Not to be left behind is Voight, the controlling father, who thinks he knows whatís right and what needs to be done, forget what his sons think and feel. Ehle is exceptionally moving as the dying mother undergoing chemotherapy, who remains strong for her husband, but shows in a poignant scene how devastating it is for her to have to be taken from her child.