Another cop film to add to the growing ranks, Pride and Glory came and went with little fanfare in October, with critics generally waving it away and theater goers not even taking time to check it out. With a $30 million budget (half of what Righteous Kill was, and this was definitely the better of the two), the film didn’t hurt too much from its poor box office performance and will likely recoup losses in home video sales, but for every bad review this film got, the general consensus is that all parties involved really gave their all in terms of acting, with solid performances from stars Norton and Farrell from beginning to end.
Four cops down: two dead, two likely. An NYPD drug bust has gone horribly wrong, and Detective Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) heads the investigating task force. He already has ties to the case. His brother was commander of the ambushed officers. His brother-in-law, a fellow officer, often partnered with them. The more Ray uncovers, the more those family ties are tested. Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich star in a gritty, tension-packed tale of a multigenerational family of cops facing hard realities and tough choices. Shot in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, Pride and Glory draws you into a grippingly raw real world…and into a house divided.
It’s kind of funny; this movie was sent to me alongside RockNRolla and I figured I’d enjoy this one more. Turns out it was the reverse, as Pride and Glory, despite being filled with fantastic actors, really fell short of something wonderful. The films biggest problem wasn’t even its two hour run time, but rather how the story progressed. All too often the film would reveal something early on and then keep us going for another twenty minutes as we waited for the rest of the cast to catch up on it, only to have another similar element come into play again. This really became a problem for the film and while it may have accurately portrayed the life of cops, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a dull ride at times.
Another part of the problem is that most of the cops here were just so damn unlikeable. While I’m sure that was intentional, I’m also completely confused that the only really likeable character here was Norton, as everyone else profiled here either became more and more unhinged or eventually spilled his guts to a reporter. It’s really one of the most impressive collections of superb acting and characters that you never want to meet in real life. Cops who cheat, steal, punch and do whatever they want for two hours got a tad bit old and while it was nice to see some justice in the end, it seemed really kind of a waste.
Speaking of waste, how about the casting of Norton and Farrell? Farrell was impressive in this film, as was Norton, don’t get me wrong, but they almost played second fiddle the entire time. Norton had more screen time, but the two still seemed like they had less time on screen than Voight or Emmerich and I honestly didn’t connect much with their characters. Norton’s troubled past was explored, but a little too late, as by the time we could connect emotionally with him, we’d already warmed up to Farrell, who, despite being dirty, you still felt for. The film certainly made for some strange emotions, which just made it all the more confusing to watch.
But even through all of that, the film could have been great if it was just a little bit…well, more entertaining. It felt like the same ol’ corrupt cop drama that’s been done a dozen times before and nothing in this film felt remotely new to me (ok, holding an iron to a baby’s head was kind of screwed up, but still). The plot was about as predictable as you could get and I never once got wrapped up in the “whodunit” angle, perhaps because they were showing us both sides simultaneously, but even then there wasn’t anything to really get you engaged with the film. I glanced more times at the clock while watching this film than I have with other movies, wondering how it could be stretched to two hours and then just wondering when it would end.
Again, acting is great and perhaps worth a Rental on that front alone but only if you like the actors involved. Any feelings you may have about Norton, Farrell, Voight or Emmerich that aren’t completely positive and you’ll likely be driven to levels of extreme annoyance and/or boredom.
Warner has released Pride and Glory on Blu-ray with a two-disc Elite case (second disc houses the digital copy), complete with a reflective foil slipcover that mimics the art below it. Also worth mentioning is Warner has changed their Blu-ray slipcover style with this release (and RockNRolla), with a smaller band at the top denoting that it’s a Blu-ray. Case is still the same underneath, of course, and Warner has stuck with their auto-start of movies.
The film itself, arriving with a 1080p VC-1 encoded 1.85:1 image, looks great. Plenty of grit, dirt, and depth to the image make this film feel grittier than it really is. From the scar on Norton’s face to the bloody gore from the various poundings the cops dish out, the detail here is fantastic and is definitely one of the more visually pleasing elements of the film. Also included is the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix which has some decent surround mix and subwoofer use during the scenes in which guns are pulled, but the majority of the film is focused to the front channels due to the amount of dialogue in this film (speaking of which, there’s also a lot of unsubtitled Spanish as well…what’s up with that? I noticed that a lot on Dexter too. Not that it’s a huge issue, I just find it interesting that it’s becoming more and more prevalent). I also wish Warner would start enabling TrueHD by default, I forgot to switch over from the DD5.1 track and didn’t realize that until about halfway into the film.
And the extras? Well…there’s one. But don’t balk just yet—this is really one of the longest and most in-depth documentaries I’ve seen in a long time, especially for a film that really didn’t get all that much buzz. Source of Pride: The Making Of (1:07:07, SD) delves into every aspect of the construction of the film and the phrase “comprehensive documentary” on the rear jacket is really aptly applied. Only thing I can’t figure out is how this isn’t in high definition—it’s the only extra on the disc and there isn’t even a commentary, so I’ve no idea why they didn’t utilize the extra space. Oh well. It’s only worth watching if you enjoyed the film, as there’s a lot of back slapping that goes on that really isn’t warranted that I found kind of annoying.
Overall a fair release with an in-depth and solid making-of, but ultimately the film isn’t worth owning. Worth a Rental at least for the performances.
Pride and Glory arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on January 27th.