I think Edward Norton is a terrific actor, so I usually try to catch all of his films, even the ones that don’t get rave reviews from critics or audiences. This was the case with Pride and Glory, the much-delayed cop drama from writer/director Gavin O’Connor that was finally released in October of 2008. The film opened quietly, earning just $6.2 million during its debut weekend, and quickly disappeared from theaters soon thereafter. So when I rented the DVD recently, I wasn’t expecting a whole heck of a lot from this movie. In that respect, I can’t say I was disappointed!
Plot summary (with possible spoilers): Edward Norton stars as Ray Tierney, an NYPD cop who has been assigned to desk duty after being shot in the face while making an arrest. But when four fellow officers are found slain in a known drug dealer’s apartment, Ray is picked to head up the special task force to investigate the crime. The officers were part of a squad that also included Ray’s brother Francis (Noah Emmerich) and brother-in-law Jimmy (Colin Farrell), so there’s even more incentive than usual for Ray to get to the bottom of the crime.
While Ray conducts his investigation through proper channels, viewers soon learn that Jimmy and Francis know a lot more than they’re letting on. Specifically, Jimmy is a dirty cop who was taking kickbacks from the drug dealer Angel Tezo (Ramon Rodriguez) along with the four cops who were shot, while Francis simply looked the other way, letting his men do what they wanted. Jimmy knows that if Ray gets to Tezo first, everything will come to light and the dirty cops will be done for.
The rest of the film then shows both Jimmy and Ray racing to find Tezo before it’s too late. Ray eventually discovers the truth about Jimmy and Francis, and is then forced to choose between telling the truth and ruining his brothers’ careers or of going along with a lie in order to cover everything up.
My Reaction: Pride and Glory felt, looked, and sounded like it could have come out a decade ago. The plot was something that has been done to death in cop movies, with nothing original added by the screenwriters. Why is it that if there are two brothers on the same police force, one is invariably good while the other dirty? And why is the father always a high-ranking official in the department as well? Boring!
As I said before, I think Edward Norton is a great actor, but even he couldn’t do very much with the material he was given. This was one of those films that was hard to get into because there are a bunch of interchangeable characters that are hard to keep straight at the beginning, (except for the familiar faces, of course) and there are a lot of plot points to try to keep in mind as well. Then add in the fact that the audience is made privy to the dirty cops and their dirty deeds from very early on, and well, there just isn’t a whole lot of suspense or drama along the way.
Overall, I thought Pride and Glory was an average film that brought nothing new to the screen. If you watch it, you might like it and be entertained for a while, but if you don’t see it, you’re not exactly missing out on much. I give it 2 stars out of 5.