DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Pride and Glory - DVD Review


 


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</script></div>{/googleAds}As evidenced by a couple of recent random spins of the cable tuner that resulted in a better than 50-50 chance of landing on a show with characters dressed in blue and wearing some sort of badge of authority, the TV airwaves these days are overly saturated with crime dramas, police procedurals and good-cop bad-cop stories. So when a cop movie releases for theaters hoping to snag a piece of the lucrative box office pie, it'd better be worth at least 10 bucks rather than the bargain-bin rate of a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, Pride and Glory falls into the latter category. Not that it's necessarily a bad movie; it's just nothing special. No one single aspect really stands out. The acting is only adequate, the story is chock-full of penny-ante cop film clichés, and at a little over two hours in runtime, it's a bit lengthy.

The story is intended to be a hard-hitting drama that explores the moral dilemmas faced by cops caught between family bonds and institutional loyalties, but nothing in the film feels real. Sure, we understand that with many gritty "on-the-street" professions, bad language is just the way they roll, but it's difficult to believe that New York's finest make a habit of cussing sailors under the table. And even though we've heard a seemingly endless stream of news reports about rogue cops mishandling detainees and beating suspects senseless, we get the feeling that Pride and Glory is an extreme amalgam of the worst-of-the-worst events rather than a believable portrayal of a particular incident. Call me naïve, but I wasn't convinced.

Pride and GLoryThe film's all-star cast was never convincing either. Edward Norton stars as NYPD Detective Ray Tierney who is charged with investigating the tragic shooting of four police officers during a raid on a Bronx drug den. As his investigation deepens to include possible connections to others within the department, including his alcoholic father (Jon Voight), his struggling brother (Noah Emmerich), and his hot-headed brother-in-law, Ray's loyalties are seriously put to the test as he learns that there are no easy answers and that the results of his investigation are sure to hurt those he loves most. The busy script makes the actors seem too caught up in getting the "police jargon" right, leaving the audience wondering exactly what's going on. It's really just a simple plot that gets bogged down in overwrought dialogue and abstruse details. It becomes, quite frankly, rather tiresome to try to follow along.

Ironically, the film mines its biggest success from its quiet moments. Director Gavin O'Connor (Miracle) knows the manic violence needs a counterbalance, so strong familial relationships are emphasized. Sometimes brutal and bloody scenes are immediately followed by tender moments such as when Jon Voight's character delivers a touching monologue about how wonderful his kids are. He senses a rift in his house of cards, and desperately hopes that love can keep it all together. Sounds a bit corny, but many less capable actors would likely falter here. Voight's teary-eyed delivery (tinged by slight drunkenness) is one of the film's best moments. Ray's dying sister-in-law also gives the cast a chance to show their dramatic chops, especially Noah Emmerich whose Francis Tierney, Jr. is the most complex character of them all. He has two internal conflicts going on at once, and is constantly searching for reconciliation. Emmerich's prior work with O'Connor shows.

Norton is also quite interesting here. He commands the camera's attention by simply standing there... the film's core dilemma etched across his face. His Ray is a nice retreat of calm and reason in an ocean of almost unbearable repulsion and violence. Too little too late however, as the film's laughable climax abruptly jerks the viewer back to reality. Pride and Glory is just more Hollywood hooey killing time until the good films get here.


Component Grades
Movie
 
DVD
2 stars
 
3 Stars
     
DVD Experience
2.5 stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Special Edition Blu-Ray

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access, documentary.

* Documentary
o Source of Pride: The Making of Pride and Glory - Documentary that highlights the research and diffulties encountered while making the film. Touches on the typical points that most making-of features take on, but the most unique aspect of this one is that, at an hour long, it is more thorough than most you'll see. Examines the NYPD training encountered by the cast, script supervision, problems with the shooting schedule, etc. Presented in a diary format.

Though it's short on extras, the documentary is a nice touch and offers some very interesting insight into the film. The blu-ray transfer is actually done quite well and this is the perfect movie to see what your system's got! Lots of darks that hold up well, and plenty of gunfire that puts those surrounds to the test.

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging - 1 disc is a digital copy of the film with instructions on how to release the copy.

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