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In 1992, in Los Angeles, Homicide Detective Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell)
is a member of the third generation of detectives in the Los Angeles
Police Department. His partner is the rookie Bobby Keough (Scott
Speedman), the nephew of the Chief of the Department Jack Van Meter
(Breendan Gleeson), one of the best friends of Eldon's father. Eldon
follows his orders without questioning, being protected by his
superior, when interrogated by the Internal Affairs. Jack and Eldon do
not have ethics, using intimidation, corruption and blackmail to
achieve their targets and defeat their enemies. However, Assistant
Chief Holland (Ving Rhames) is a honest officer, who fights against the
corruption in the department and wants to destroy Jack and Elson. Bobby
does not fit well in such a corrupted environment and is in love with
Sargent Beth Williamson (Michael Michele), who works with Holland and
had a love affair with him five years before. When four persons are
executed in a Corean store by two criminals protected by Jack, Eldon
and Bobby are in charge to find two scapegoats to take the blame.
Meanwhile, tension is increasing on the streets of Los Angeles due to
the trial of four white officers, who spanked the black motorist Rodney
King. Having the backdrop of the real case of Rodney King, and
consequent violence on the streets of LA after the absolving of the
four white officers responsible for his aggression, and many plot
points, "Dark Blue" is a very different, realistic and dramatic police
story. Themes like racism, police excessive (or brutal) use of force
for intimidation, corruption, blackmail, violent crimes, redemption
etc. are presented in this film. The corruption in all levels of the
police department and the justice system is explored in this movie.
Although being in Los Angeles, it could be in most of the police
departments of different nations. The performance of Kurt Russell is
once again amazing, in the role of a man who goes to hell, destroying
his personal and professional life in all the aspects, and looking for
redemption in the end. "Dark Blue" is a highly recommended movie. My
vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Face Oculta da Lei" ("The Hidden Face of the Law")
Kurt Russel and Scott Speedman star in this this thriller about an elderly
cop, named Eldon (Russel) who is corrupt, yet thinks what he does is for the
greater good. His younger partner, named Bobby(Speedman) is new on the
force, and he's taking on his partners way of being a cop. While Eldon and
Bobby are out doing their 'thing', a robbery occurs. Several people are left
dead, and its up to Eldon and Bobby to solve the case, in their own
The story goes on from there, and takes several unexpected turns, and proves to be highly entertaining, just like the rest of the movie. Kurt Russel's acting is top-notch, but unfortunetly Scott Speedman doesn't really deliver a very striking performance. But other than Speedman's lacking acting skills, the movie is very good. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat, and there are several subplots that all come together in the end, giving us an ending which leaves us all satisfied.
Now, this is definetly not an action movie. Instead it relies on its story and the characters, and that's a very good move by the director. But there are still moments where we are in awe of the movie, such as the riot scenes. Scenes of absolute anarchy.
All in all, a very good movie. Recommended to all who wants a good story to sit back and enjoy. 8/10
As the trial of the officers accused of beating Rodney King occurs in the
background, LA sits on a knife's edge of tension. Meanwhile hard-line
Eldon Perry celebrates his partner being cleared of operating outside of
procedure and the pair go back to work. When they are put on a robbery
homicide case all the evidence points to a couple of informants used by
Captain Jack Van Meter, however he assures them it wasn't them and tells
them to find someone else to pin it on. However Perry's partner Bobby
Keough has a change of heart and the cracks start to show as LA bursts
This film was slightly over-hyped when it came out. I agree that it is a solid cop thriller that rises above recent offerings from the genre but to give it as much praise as it garnered at the time is to give it more than it deserves. The basic plot is on two levels. On the first level the film is about police corruption and sees a corrupt house of cards teetering on the brink of collapse. This bit works well and the cop thriller element works well even if it treads familiar ground. The second level is the background of the Rodney King trial and the LA riots. This aspect is very much wallpaper and I didn't really feel it was necessary for the main narrative to work. At best it complimented the ongoing tensions between community and cops, at worst it distracts from the main thrust.
Russell does give one of his strongest performances in recent years and is not afraid to be an unsympathetic lead character. However the rest of the cast are either not as good or not as well used. Speedman has to carry most of the moral weight of the film and it is clearly too heavy for him and can't do it convincingly. Rhames is simply not used very well and is almost supplementary to requirements. Gleeson is miscast - he is an able actor but the film required him to be a generation older than Perry, in reality they were the same age more or less. Michele is sexy and is reasonably well used for a support character and Kurupt is good even if he is playing the character that he plays daily in his rapper personae.
Overall this was a superior cop thriller that was enjoyable as same. It did a reasonable job looking at the real life issues of corruption in the LAPD but not as well as perhaps other reviews would have led you to believe - it is more a wallpaper or just a theme that is used to prop up the narrative rather than a real good historic look at the time.
There's not really much to be said about this film: its internal
integrity and the obvious commitment of everyone involved speak for
themselves. When I think of Kurt Russell I always think of Soldier and
Arnie he ain't but, DAMN, he can act when he's given a good script.
The DVD is well worth getting hold of. The documentaries are professional, detail packed and interesting. I like the comment by Cotty Chubb, the producer, who says that the four elements needed for a civil society are jobs, schools, hospitals and police. In many parts of urban America (he says) there are no jobs, the schools are s*i*, they've closed all the hospitals and the police are corrupt. For a foreigner, who has never been able to make sense of the perverse verdict in the trials of those infamous officers, this film shed some light on a very fragile society.
About halfway through this movie, I realized I hadn't blinked once.
That's when I knew that I was watching a really good film. Kurt Russell
is no slouch of an actor. He was riveting. This was a well crafted cop
flick where everyone seems to have dirt on someone else, and meanwhile,
there are crimes being committed, and L.A. is about to erupt in
The great thing about this flick is that it doesn't try to be more than it is. Which is just a very entertaining, suspenseful cop movie.
Well worth a watch.
Here's a decent corrupt cop thriller that has two exceptional things
going for it. The first is an at-the-top-of-his-game Kurt Russell
giving the kind of subtle, layered performance you only get from a pro;
it would be so easy for his dark-hearted cop to be a caricature, but
thanks to Russell he's far from it. Russell is one of those actors who
make a lot of lightweight fare (BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, etc.) and
whose genuine talents are sometimes forgotten about, which is a shame.
Check out the monologue he gets to himself here - excellent.
The second thing going for this is the backdrop of the L.A. race riots in 1992. A simmering undercurrent of violence runs throughout the movie, from the casual violence of the opening robbery to the bravura climax. The atmosphere is frightening, a perfect match for the ruthlessness of the cops who think they're above the law, and perfectly realised.
Add in a taut script, a seasoned round of pros (Brendan Gleeson, Ving Rhames) and a fairly good performance from newcomer Scott Speedman and you have a solid, highly watchable drama.
I'm not the biggest fan of police/crime drama's (with or without some
action and thrills thrown in the mix). Most of the time (especially the
direct-to-DVD ones) those movies are simply below average. DARK BLUE,
however, rightfully received a theatrical release. This movie's got a
good story to tell (written by James Ellroy), supported by more than
decent acting performances. Kurt Russell delivers one of his best
performances yet as Eldon Perry, a middle aged unsympathetic loud-mouth
cop on the verge of promotion. He doesn't question his orders given by
corrupt superiors, and that's how he was able to follow in his father's
footsteps and climb the ranks of the LAPD. I haven't seen Scott
Speedman in many movies yet, but from the looks of it he's a decent
actor too, who holds strong when acting aside Kurt Russell.
Given this is a James Ellroy story, one quickly is led to believe that there are way more corrupt cops out there than good ones. And even the honest ones (in pursuit of justice) have a few skeletons in the closet. All characters have a lot of flesh on their bones, which make them all very interesting. And because of the many fluent dialogues that demand your attention, you tend to forget that all the things going on the way they do, can't last forever. So when things do go wrong, it's a bit of a surprise for who it goes bad and for who it gets even worse.
The whole background story with the lawsuit against the cops who beat up Afro-American Rodney King is cleverly used to stage the 90's setting. And the riots in the street, caused by the decision of the jury near the end of the movie, add a lot to the exciting climax of DARK BLUE. This one's as decent as L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, only, maybe, a bit less intriguing. But still, an excellent movie with solid acting and a good story.
1st watched 8/21/2003 - 7 out of 10(Dir-Ron Shelton): Well done good cop/bad cop movie that works because the good & the bad are basically caught in the same trap and some of the characters change from one to the other during the film. Kurt Russell's character is one of them that changes. He is bad with a capital `B' in the beginning. He's foul-mouthed, racist and doesn't care much for justice but wants to cover the good guys' behind whenever possible. He is totally believable as this redneck character. His partner is being taught to lie in what they call a `shooting trial' where they question the cop on a convict-shooting to make sure it was the `only' option. The setting for the film is a few days before the `non-guilty' Rodney King verdict in L.A., but this is only a backdrop to the movie's story. There is typical corruption in the police ranks but in this one, the star is involved in the corruption. Without giving away too much of the story, basically the cops are involved in another shooting and the partner decides to tell the truth which leads to other events that bring about the much-hoped-for ending. It's neat the way the filmmaker uses the Rodney King fiasco to blend in with the action of the story which kind of adds a separate element that everyone is quietly following as they do their jobs. The acting, the direction and the story blend together for a very satisfying and watchable movie despite the typical bad cop/good cop genre that the story is based on. Hooray for all involved on this one!!
Dark Blue was one of those movies I saw the trailer for back when it was first coming out in theaters that I had always wanted to see. For one reason or another I put it off and I eventually forgot about it. Over time some fellow film fans said this was worth watching and deserves a look. Kurt Russell's character is mean and lovable. He's a dirty cop, but we're with him every step of the way. There is a little bit of Training Day in this but one could argue Dark Blue is dirtier and angrier. This is not a typical character for Kurt Russell, and it's one of his best films from the past 10 years. I was surprised I hadn't seen this back when it came out. If you love Kurt, action films, and cop stories than Dark Blue is for you. Overall a good movie.
DARK BLUE (2003) ***1/2 Kurt Russell, Scott Speedman, Ving Rhames, Michael Michele, Lola Davidovich, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Banks. Russell gives the performance of his career as morally corrupt LA cop Eldin Perry, assigned to a special forces unit, who uses his power to put the screws to the animals he patrols by any means necessary , instructing his rookie partner Speedman , until things come to a bloody head in the shadow of the Rodney King trial. Rhames as the deputy chief of police determined to bring Perry down provides the missing social backbone to this insightfully gritty look at bad cops gone wild. Filmmaker Ron Shelton affectively uses the historic time setting perfectly in capturing the tempest in a teacup that acts as a perfect metaphor for the screenplay written by David Ayer based on James Ellroy's story.
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