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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?
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.