For Family and the Force
On one hand "Pride and Glory" isn't the most original of ideas, a family of cops mixed with police corruption has been done before, but at the same time it feels like it is a good movie waiting to get out. I say that because there is something about "Pride and Glory" which isn't quite right and it sort of comes down to it trying too hard. The opening tries too hard to be frenetic making it a little confusing and the ending tries too hard to be different, spiralling out of control in doing so. And that leaves the middle which is terrific, good storyline, good action and unsurprisingly with a cast which features Edward Norton, Jon Voigt, Colin Farrell and Noah Emmerich good acting. It is entertaining and you won't be disappointed if you watch "Pride and Glory" but you will feel like it could have been better.
The Tierney's are a family of cops, Francis Sr. (Jon Voight) has worked his way up and is now top brass whilst his son Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is Chief of a precinct and his other son Ray (Edward Norton - The Incredible Hulk) is an investigator. And whilst his daughter Megan (Lake Bell) didn't join up she married Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell - S.W.A.T.) a cop working in Francis Jr's precinct. When 4 cops from Francis Jr's precinct are murdered in a drugs bust Francis Sr. asks Ray to head the investigation and as he digs around trying to track down the killer discovers there is police corruption. Not only that he discovers that the corruption leads back to Francis Jr's precinct and possibly Jimmy causing issues within the family as to whether to keep it quiet and protect both the family and the force or blow it open.
Part of the trouble with "Pride and Glory" is the first 20 minutes or so because we are thrown in to the thick of it with characters and situations which are slightly confusing because we are unaware of history, relationships and what is really going on. In a way calling it frenetic is wrong but trying to be raw and snappy it takes a while before you fully understand what is going on. Now what is going on is quite good because you have 4 cops who have been killed in a drug bust, a drug bust which was a set up and someone on the force informed on them. That someone as we discover is a gang of corrupt cops lead by Jimmy Egan the brother in law of Francis Tierney, Jr. who is his chief and is part of a cop family with his brother Ray an investigator and his dad who is top brass.
So we have this corruption within a family but as we soon discover Ray, Francis and their dad know nothing off what Jimmy is up to that is until Ray is investigating the murder of the cops and he discovers that there is police corruption. At the same time we have Francis Jr. having taken his eye of the ball because his wife is dying from cancer and their father Francis Sr. more concerned with not only protecting the name of his family but keeping any corruption hidden from the public.
Now this isn't that original, we have police corruption and police family movies before and in a way, just watch "Striking Distance" for something along the same lines. But "Pride and Glory" is entertaining because it has a raw brutality, not always in the form of violence which makes it interesting. Watching Ray digging into the case, polite and calm as he finds information only to burst into aggression is edgy as is Jimmy who almost seems to run the corrupt cops as if he was some sort of Mafia don. There is a real cockiness to Jimmy that even when Francis Jr. having discovered what he is up to and confronts him has the confidence to threaten him because he knows that if Francis takes him down he will be blowing the whole thing open and ruining the Tierney family name.
What this means is that whilst director Gavin O'Connor does a nice job of giving "Pride and Glory" a raw feel it is the acting which makes it exciting. And whilst every performance is good be it Rick Gonzalez as a lowlife through to Noah Emmerich as Francis Tierney, Jr. it is two actors who really make it exciting. Colin Farrell as Jimmy is quite simply dangerous, as I said he has this almost Don like quality, bossing around the other corrupt cops and then going on the attack when danger gets to close to him, confident that his dirty ways are not going to be made public and despicable enough to stitch up those in the family. And then there is Edward Norton as Ray, quiet, slightly troubled from something in the past who calmly goes about his investigation but in the blink of an eye can turn violent. And it is Edward Norton who steals the big piece which is whether or not he blows the whole corruption open or covers up for the good of the family and the police.
But here is the trouble and it just feels like in order to deliver an exciting ending it forces things. It becomes a little over the top as it tries to be different and bring closure to this situation in a way which doesn't compromise any of the characters. Without spoiling things it certainly has impact as to what is suggested but at the same time it just feels wrong.
What this all boils down to is that "Pride and Glory" is a nice take on the story of a family of cops troubled by police corruption and for the majority of the movie it works thanks to some great performances. But it feels like it is trying to hard to be different when it comes to the ending and it spirals out of control spoiling much of what went before.