Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brooklyn's Finest - 3/5

From the director of "Training Day" and starring one helluva cast ensemble (including the return of Wesley fucking Snipes to theaters!), it was hard for me not to want to love "Brooklyn's Finest". Its a well crafted movie that's almost too well crafted. With stunningly good performances and some great moments, "Brooklyn's Finest" definitely garners a lot of speed behind itself, but it does end up starting to fall apart towards the end and over baking itself in melodrama. Something that seemed bound to happen from minute one.

Three very different police officers are finding themselves drowning in their lives. An older cop (Gere) is apathetic towards everything now and with only 7 days til retirement being stuck with fresh meat rookies is starting to grate on him. A financially drowning drug raid cop (Hawke) finds himself going to the grays of his morals to try to score some extra cash for a down payment on a house that his family (of an unknown and extremely high number of kids and a wife pregnant with twins) desperately needs. An undercover cop (Cheadle) finds himself losing his own identity to the drug runners he's with and his loyalty for the boss that saved his life (Snipes) and his job as a cop come clashing against one another in some rather daunting ways. These three policemen are on a path of redemption that will lead them to a moment where the actions of all three will ultimately effect the others.

Now "Brooklyn's Finest" has a pretty intense story and script. The three tales are all insanely taunt with tension and moral debate and our three lead actors ably take on the role of these struggling cops with a fierceness that only the best actors can bring. Unfortunately, more often than not, the stories feel like too much too quickly as we are bombarded with non-stop emotional qualms and an overzealous score that drains the audience by the time an hour and half rolls by. The drama becomes so thick that a viewer feels rather smothered by it. Of course, it also doesn't help that the last act, when the three tales find themselves coming together, that the loosely plotted finale feels like a rather simplistic shoot out instead of the scrambling for redemption that these characters need to survive. Its almost as if the script didn't know how to end itself and decided that a volley of secondary characters and bullets would suffice to make it happen

Still, despite the many cliche's that the film seems to rally itself around, the film is rather intense and intriguing. Most of this is due to, as I mentioned before, the amazing cast that was able to take these rather overused characters and really delve into them and of course some hit or miss atmospheric and old school directing from Antoine Fuqua. Had these not saved this film from its own melodramatic salt, then this film would have easily sat and boiled itself to death in its own juices.

"Brooklyn's Finest" sits as another good cop n crime film, but doesn't achieve the greatness that the director's other tour de force "Training Day" did. Its a fine watch with some great moments of dialogue and a consistently great acting presence, but this film just falls prey to its own 'greyness' of right and wrong...or shall I say righter and wronger.

BONUS RANT: I was insanely disappointed with the rather run of the mill and flat title card. The font was your average Word document font that people think is cool cause its different and the rather boring way it comes about is disgustingly overused. It was almost too boring for the drama that was to come in the film and thinking back it felt like it was in the wrong place. It was an odd way to start my film experience with "Brooklyn's Finest" and this film deserved a better title sequence. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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