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PRIDE AND GLORY
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich, Jennifer Ehle
Director: Gavin OíConnor
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: New Line
Features: See Review
Length: 130 Minutes
Release Date: January 27, 2009

ďYou got anything you wanna say to me about what youíve done?Ē

Film ***1/2

Watching Pride and Glory, I realized that I am a pure sucker for movies about police corruption. No matter how many times the themes have been recycled, just make a flick about one cop going up against a group of crooked cops and Iím there. And here we have a film that is very reminiscent of the cop thrillers from Sidney Lumet, specifically Serpico and Prince of the City.

In other words, itís a most authentic cop thriller that gets all the details right. Director Gavin OíConnor was the son of a veteran cop, and watching the film you get a great sense that this is a film he needed to make. Add in Joe Carnahan, writer/director of the equally superb cop thriller Narc, to co-write the screenplay and youíve got one hard edged tale of corruption that almost feels something like a Greek tragedy.

The film opens with the report of a code 1013. Four NYC cops have been killed during an attempted drug bust. The homicide ends up affecting a family of cops in which the color blue runs very deep.

The father of the clan and ex-police chief (Jon Voight) personally requests that his son, Ray (Edward Norton), head up the task force investigating the homicide. The dead cops were part of a unit led by Rayís brother-in-law, Jimmy (Colin Farrell), who works under Rayís brother, Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich).

The dirty twist of the matter is that Jimmy and his unit are neck deep in corruption, so much to the point that Jimmy is knocking off drug dealers in an effort to collect quick money. The current homicide was the result of what was supposed to be an easy takedown of another dealer. As Rayís investigation closes in, Jimmy does what he can to cover his tracks.

The film actually has two parts to it. The first, as already indicated, is a very gritty and intense thriller about corruption within a family of cops. The second part of the movie is a rich examination of the family itself and the pride within. Both halves of the film work tremendously well.

The acting here is amazing all across the boards. Norton is perfect as a good but somewhat flawed cop, as indicated by an event from his past. Noah Emmerich, a valued character actor who made a terrific turn recently in Little Children, turns in yet another impressive performance as the eldest brother of the family. And Jon Voight, whose film choices havenít been the best lately, delivers his best performance in nearly a decade.

But for me the standout performance belongs to Colin Farrell, who has never been more menacing on film before. Jimmy is actually a really complex role, as he can be likable when playing the role of the family man only to be the exact opposite when he is seen operating beyond the law. After a scene where he busts in the home of a drug dealerís associate, and threatens one of his family members with an iron, I wasnít sure if I could even look at Farrell againÖthatís how convincing he is in the role.

Pride and Glory is a most effective cop thriller than fans of the genre, like myself, are bound to enjoy. Much of the dialogue amongst has an authentic sound, thus resulting in a film with a most potent effect. A cast this fantastic with material as rich like this add up to the kind of stellar film you simply canít go wrong with.

Video ****

The high definition transfer from New Line is absolutely striking from beginning to end. The strong cinematography provided by Declan Quinn is made even grittier in this presentation. Thereís a great deal of dark/night sequences, which look quite fantastic. At the same time we get some brightly lit indoor shots that look equally stunning, most notably the first scene between Norton and Voight. The New York City looks tremendously authentic in this wonderfully superb Blu-ray presentation.

Audio ***1/2

Though itís a cop thriller, this movie is more dialogue driven than action filled. And yet, the Dolby TrueHD mix still provides a thoroughly effective sound presentation the likes of which only Blu-ray can provide. Dialogue is absolutely sharp and clear in every scene, music playback is definitely one of the strongest elements (with tracks ranging from hip hop to Irish rock) and the bits of action that do come into play are indeed a fantastic treat for the ears.

Features ***

Itís not everyday that a disc gets such a rating for basically one feature, but it just so happens that this New Line release contains one of the best behind the scenes documentaries Iíve ever seen on any release, be it DVD or Blu-ray. Itís titled ďSource of PrideĒ, and it runs just over an hour long and covers a great deal of what went on before and during the production. We see director Gavin OíConnor deal with the pressures of getting a film made the right way, as well as having to deal with several production setbacks (example; Nick Nolte dropped out of the production before Jon Voight was hired to fill in the role). Itís such a revealing look into the filmmaking process, and gets my vote for ďBest Making Of-DocumentaryĒ of the year.

Also included is a second disc containing a Digital Copy of the film.

Summary:

It may help if you simply canít get enough cop thrillers, but Pride and Glory is a most riveting film. When material like this is taken completely seriously, the dramatic aspects become more enthralling. If you want an intense film with some truly great acting, definitely check this one out!

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