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Sunday, August 1, 2010

An OK Look At Brooklyn's Finest


Brooklyn's Finest: 3 out of 5 Stars
Captain: Don't you wanna do something useful with your last two minutes on the job? Eddie Dugan: Not really.
Director Antoine Fuqua returns to the cop drama genre that got him much more notice. This time he puts together three stories, which are all well acted, but unfortunately don't come together as well as they could. Still the performances are very solid and the film looks quite good, capturing a gritty tone that fits.

In Brooklyn, amid drug deals, violence, casual racism, poverty, housing projects, and corrupt cops, we follow three officers: Tango (Don Cheadle), African-American, working undercover, believing he's earned a promotion to a desk job but told he has to set up the bust of an ex-con (Wesley Snipes) who saved his life; Sal (Ethan Hawke), who'll commit murder to get cash to buy a house big enough for his family; and, Eddie (Richard Gere), the precinct's oldest beat cop, a week to go before retirement, assigned to mentor an earnest rookie. Can this end well for any of the three?

Really, and film that can make Richard seem interesting to me can't be all bad. I tend to find Gere boring, but here, he does a solid job as a cop who always wanted to keep his head down, but is being tested on his way out. I also enjoyed the maturity that Hawke brought to a role, as he tends to still seem young in other roles. Cheadle is always solid, so no complaints there. Then you have Wesley Snipes who is just fantastic in a role that requires him to be looking back on the life he has lived.

It's sad that this story couldn't be better. All of the characters pretty much go through the motions that these standard type characters would, with the twist being that they are all in one movie together, oppose to several different ones. It essentially follows all the same patters, but manages to be edited all together this time around, making the storytelling a bit clunky, resorting to shootouts often as a way to break things up.

That being said, this is a great looking film. Fuqua does a good job at capturing the city, and his camera work throughout is solid. While there may be too many gunfights to help clear up the plot, the action does look solid when it occurs, and it's quite brutal at times.

There are a lot of good elements here, it just doesn't add up to a better feature.
Sal Procida: I don't want god's forgiveness. I want his help.

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