Pride and Glory (2008)
Pride and Glory (2008)

Genre: Crime Drama Running Time: 2 hrs. 10 min.

Release Date: October 24th, 2008 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Gavin O’Connor Actors: Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich, Jennifer Ehle, John Ortiz, Frank Grillo, Lake Bell, Shea Whigham, Carmen Ejogo, Ryan Simpkins

 


 

F

or viewers who think “Pride and Glory” sounds like a generic inspirational sports drama, the opening scene might prove them right. The credit sequence football game with the New York Police Department may be a visual metaphor for teamwork and its eventual dissolution and shortcomings – or it could just be another meaningless shot that drags out the overlong cop drama that follows. Focusing heavily on realism, “Pride and Glory” instead becomes repulsive. In its attempt to expose corruption, greed, and massive unscrupulousness, the film produces zero likeable characters and many unnecessary pieces. However, there is nothing more effective than torturing a baby onscreen – a shockingly intense scene that will likely be the only thing for which “Pride and Glory” is remembered.

When four New York policemen are gunned down in a bloody drug-bust massacre, Officer Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) reluctantly joins the task force involved in the subsequent investigation. A conflicted cop who hasn’t always upheld the moral code of his position, Tierney insists on revealing the truth this time out – and unwittingly unearths a conspiracy detrimental to both the department and members of his own family. Ray’s father (Jon Voight), brother (Noah Emmerich), and brother-in-law (Colin Farrell) are all cops also involved with the case, some concerned with defending the appearance of the NYPD and others focused on justice – both of which are highly subjective in “Pride and Glory.”

In this smorgasbord of extortion and coercion, no true blue heroes emerge. Like “Dirty Harry,” even the protagonists are tarnished with detestable attributes. And like “Gone Baby Gone,” evidently, doing the right thing sucks. The script demands that everyone try too hard to be emotional, while many characters and scenes are unnecessarily thrown in to ensure that the audience won’t dismiss the importance of family – even when Farrell’s Jimmy Egan holds a steaming iron to a crying infant’s face. The conclusions drawn in the film are equally as clashing; as cover-ups and arm-twisting go to extremes (and Jon Voight’s Francis Tierney demands that events run “quietly with as little incident as possible”) it seems that everything can be settled with a good old-fashioned fistfight.

Too much family drama, too much Irish rock, and not enough chivalry becomes the formula for a film that is overly long and drawn out in a messy arrangement of lies, betrayals, and murder. The acting is mostly adequate – and very randomly exceptional – but the generic cop drama script bogs down the typically talented cast. While the intensity of the action sequences is given plenty of care, the story is allowed to spiral downward into absurdity as rapidly as its characters’ sinking situations. And Norton is decidedly more fun to watch as a giant green man than a tin man.

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10