An undercover narc dies, the investigation stalls, so the Detroit P.D. brings back Nick Tellis, fired 18-months ago when a stray bullet hits a pregnant woman. Tellis teams with Henry Oak, a friend of the dead narc and an aggressive cop constantly under the scrutiny of internal affairs. They follow leads, informants turn up dead, Nick's wife is unhappy he's back on the street, Henry's protective of the dead cop's wife. Nick reads and re-reads the case file, broods, watches Oak's heavy-handed style, sometimes joining in. The brass want to close out the case, Nick and Henry stay on it, and bits of evidence point them to an auto body shop. What actually happened; will Nick ever know? Written by
This film reminded me of those cop films from the late 60's and 70's like "The Seven Ups" and "The French Connection" but this film is really dark and dirty. One thing that stands out is the cinematography that I'll describe later. Film opens with a cop chasing a suspect into a park and when shots are fired at one another a pregnant woman gets hit. Month's later the force wants him back to work with an older cop and investigate a cop killing. Jason Patric and Ray Liotta star in this film and its directed by Joe Carnahan who employs a very good visual style to an already familiar story. The film has a dark and gritty look about it that suggests a touch of "Film Noir". One scene in particular stands out and its the one where Patric and Liotta are in a cafe having coffee and talking. The scene is dimly lit with both characters seemingly in shadows. It suggests that both are shadowy figures and have something to hide. Carnahan creates a dark mood for the film that I found very effective. Nothing seems forced here and it creates an indelible aura of bleakness. These are the streets that these cops work in everyday and you can understand some of the personality flaws of the characters. Ray Liotta stands out here and its the type of performance that reminds us why Scorsese cast him in "Goodfellas" in the first place. He gained 25 pounds for the role and along with Tom Cruise and a host of others helped produce this film. All the hard work paid off and I hope studios remember him with more work. He's always been a terrific actor and its hard to forget those eyes of his when he sinks his teeth into a role like this. They're was some talk of him being nominated for an Academy award in the supporting category which would be wrong. Both he and Patric are in the film about the same amount of time. They are both starring roles and its not a supporting performance. Some people complained of the dark edge and mood of the film but thats exactly what I liked about it. Well photographed and very well acted, this is a solid cop film that people should check out.
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