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Pride and Glory (2008)
Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 1/27/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/25/2009
When some people learn of my love for horror movies, they will say, "Yeh...but they're all the same." (Either that or "I hate all the gore.", which dismisses about 75% of horror films.) I can see where they are coming from with that "they're all the same" comment, as many scary movies do seem to share the same attributes. But, that accusation can be thrown at many genres. Today, let's examine films about police officers in New York City. There have been hundreds of movies in this category, and many of them are quite famous...and many are indistinguishable. Which brings us to Pride and Glory.
Pride and Glory introduces us to the Tierney family, who have a long history in the NYPD. Patriarch Francis Sr. (Jon Voight) is a decorated veteran in a senior position. Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is the commanding officer of a precinct. Ray (Edward Norton) is a detective who has been working in missing persons after being injured in a shootout. Their sister (Lake Bell) is married to Officer Jimmy Eagan (Colin Farrell), who serves under Francis Jr. As the film opens, an inter-city police football game (is that real?) is interrupted with news the four officers from Francis Jr.'s precinct have been killed while attempting to apprehend some drug dealers. There is an immediate outcry from the NYPD community, and Francis Sr. convinces Ray to leave missing persons and lead the task force to find the shooters. Ray's investigation leads to a suspect, but it also leads back inside the department. Could one of New York's Finest be responsible for a rash of cop killings?
Pride and Glory is one of those films where I found myself counting the pros and cons while watching it. You can spot some of the pros by simply reading the above synopsis. The movie features a stellar cast and the performances are great all-around. Jon Voight brings a quiet intensity to the role of a man who has seen too much and loses himself in booze. Edward Norton plays a more down-to-Earth character than normal, and he proves that he can play humble quite well. Who better to play an Irish cop that Colin Farrell? Despite the fact that his accent slips in a few scenes, he carries off a wide range of emotions. The under-rated Noah Emmerich, who was so good inThe Truman Show, goes toe-to-toe with these better known actors. Pride and Glory was directed by Gavin O'Connor, who was able to give the sports movie a jolt with Miracle, and his father was a police officer. The script received a polish from Joe Carnahan, the director of Smokin' Aces and Narc. The film was shot on location in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York, and it has a gritty feel to it.
However, the major con with Pride and Glory is, despite the fact that it's very well-made, you're going to feel like you've seen it all before. Be it Serpico, The Departed (Yes, I know that it was set in Boston),We Own the Night, or countless others, Pride and Glory felt like any other raw, good cop/bad cop movie, where an honest police officer has to investigate corruption on the force. We get all of the requisite scenes; the talk of brotherhood amongst policeman; the fear of being ostracized for being honest; the sense that the hero will be in danger for telling the truth. The list goes on and on. There wasn't a single moment in this movie that I felt that I hadn't seen in another film. (And I don't even watch that many cop movies!) Not only does this make the movie feel unoriginal, but it sucks all of the suspense out of it. There was only one truly shocking scene in the film, and it will bother even the most hardened viewer. Also, the film features an odd subplot concerning the fact that Francis Jr.'s wife has cancer. There are several long scenes which show this character. Is this supposed to make us feel more sympathy for him? All that it did was make this 130-minute movie feel even longer.
So, Pride and Glory is a toss-up. If you love hard-boiled cop movies, then you are going to have to be a true completist to see Pride and Glory, because you're going to feel as if you've seen it all before. If you're new to the genre, there are better places to start. Again, this isn't a bad movie, it just doesn't have anything new to say.
Pride and Glory chases down the perp on DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TV. The image is sharp and clear, but there is grain visible throughout the film. This was clearly intentional to add to the gritty look. Also, the colors have been desaturated, giving many scenes a blue look. The image is somewhat dark (when compared to the Blu-ray) and some shots has a soft look to them. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track has very good stereo effects which show impressive stereo separation. The same goes for the surround effects, which really bring the action scenes to life. The gunshots are well represented through the subwoofer.
The Pride and Glory DVD contains only one extra feature. "Source of Pride: The Making of Pride and Glory" (67 minutes) is a very in-depth documentary which examines many facets of the film's production. Co-writer's Gavin O'Connor and Greg O'Connor comment throughout the piece, talking about their personal influences on the story. We see the actors trainnig with real NYPD officers. The cast comments on their characters and the production and we see rehearsal and table-read footage. There is also a discussion of the real-life location where the film was shot and the casting of extras from the neighborhood. From there, we get a comprehensive look at the shooting of key scenes.
Warner Home Video has also brought Pride and Glory toBlu-ray Disc. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 (despite the fact that the packaging states 1.85:1) and the Disc houses a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 18 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, but again, the grain is quite noticeable. The colors are fine, although, again, they are desaturated. The image has a nice crispness to it, which is only assisted by the high level of detail here. (We can make out all of the insignia on the officer's uniforms.) The image has a good deal of depth as well. Unlike the DVD, the image is never too dark. The Disc hold a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.8 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is one of the better tracks that I've heard from Warner. The use of stereo and surround effects in the action scenes are brilliant, and we feel that we are in the middle of the action. The gunshots come from all around us, and in the finale, helicopters zoom overhead. The bass effects also add to this inclusive effect.
The Pride and Glory Blu-ray Disc contains the same lone extra as the DVD.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long