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
Poignant mystery thriller known for its bad cop plus bad cop pairing
Rating: 8 out of 10. Written and Directed by Joe Carnahan.
Narc is one of the best movies that I have seen in recent months, I rented it several weeks ago from the video store and caught most of it again just last week on a movie channel. This is a story of bad cop and bad cop working together, which is a relief to me since the good cop plus bad cop pairing is too over done. Joe Carnahan shows that he is an extremely talented writer and director.
I have found myself thinking back to this movie several times since seeing it. It has a unique quality and excellent style to it. It also does not hurt to have good writing and directing that was complimented with the great acting of Jason Patric and Ray Liotta.
Jason Patric is Nick Tellis, an undercover narcotics officer. The movie opens with Tellis chasing a drug dealer through backyards and into a park until the chase ends with a shooting, the suspect gets hit, but so does a pregnant woman that was a bystander. The next scene takes place over a year later, and Tellis is in a boardroom meeting with a police board of inquiry. We find out that the pregnant woman that got shot lost her unborn child and that Tellis has been on an administrative leave all this time for over a year. The board offers him a deal, which is to solve the murder of a slain undercover narcotics officer named Michael Calvess. If he solves this murder, he will be fully reinstated with a choice assignment. Tellis storms out of the meeting declining the offer. A police captain played by Chi McBride follows Tellis out the room and is able to convince Tellis to reconsider.
As Tellis starts to investigate the murder, he requests the help of Calvess' former partner Henry Oak played by Ray Liotta. Initially the police captain says that Oak is off limits to the Calvess case and mentions that Oak is unstable. Oak isn't just unstable, he is a brutal cop, and we see a few flashback scenes of Oak viciously beating up suspects. Police Internal Affairs is always on the look out to find Oak guilty of brutality or planting evidence or any of the violations of conduct that Oak is suspected of doing. What allows Oak to continue to roam around like a vigilante is his impressive work record, the majority of Oak's arrests end up with a conviction. Therefore, Tellis is able to get Oak back onto the case.
As we see Tellis and Oak investigate, we see some very unusual characters and a couple of twists to the storyline. Of course Oak is quite brutal and Tellis is okay with using police brutality at times but is sometimes surprised at Oak's actions and methods. The movie ends with some shocking revelations.
Narc was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002. Which is not a surprise since this was a very good film.
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