C. Robert Cargill February 3, 2009
Don’t let the incredible cast or cool setup fool you. Pride and Glory isn’t some epic drama that you somehow missed in theaters. It’s the annual, overly ambitious misfire assembling way too many very talented people to accomplish way too little. The film is a muddled series of very cool scenes and character developments tempered by long periods of tedium and an overindulgence of minutia. And while it keeps giving every indication that it will improve, every twist and turn only results in further detaching you from the film.
The film is the story of another blood-runs-blue family. Three brothers (all cops) and the son of a high-ranking police official get caught up in various awkward positions, playing different parts of one big conspiracy. One brother is in the wrong, one in the right, and one is covering up corruption to save his own bacon. And as interesting as that all sounds, the film tries so hard to keep certain plot elements secret that rather than providing mystery, you simply lose interest until the big reveal that proves too little too late. By the time the movie gets around to explaining the scar on Edward Norton‘s face and the incident that SHOULD be forcing the audience to feel his angst, you’ve ceased to have any real connection to the character and all the points that you COULD have felt a real connection to have long since passed you by.
But that’s not to say that it’s all bad. Everyone in the film gives great performances. Both Norton and Colin Farrell are great (as usual), but Noah Emmerich gives the performance of his career, proving that he really is a talent we’ve yet to see fully tapped. Even Jon Voight is great, turning in one epic drunken scene in which he single-handedly makes the whole family uncomfortable during a holiday meal. That scene is so real you can almost smell the alcohol on his breath.
And there are a few truly great moments. Writer/director Gavin O’Connor brought in cutting-edge badass Smokin’ Joe Carnahan to help with the script and you can feel his influence in certain scenes. One scene in which Colin Farrell threatens to iron a baby is so edge-of-your seat over the top that it cannot be expressed in words. There’s another moment, when someone is shaking down a criminal, that also has Carnahan’s magic dust all over it.
The film comes with one, count ‘em, one special feature — an hour-and-some-odd-minute making-of that slowly chronicles most of what went wrong with the film. The director seemed so hyper-focused on getting all of the small details right that he missed the most important elements. In his quest for authenticity, entertainment was left by the wayside. No matter how real the criminals look, no matter how correct the police procedures are, the movie just plain sucks. And there is no award for most realistic disappointment.
Pride and Glory is available now from New Line Cinema.
Categories: DVDTags: Colin farrell, Dvd, Ed norton, Jon voight, Pride and glory