Archive for June 20th, 2010

Brooklyn’s Finest

Antoine Fuqua has produced movies of varying quality over the past dozen years, the highlight being Training Day (2001). His new movie Brooklyn’s Finest is a reunion with both the subject matter and one of his stars Ethan Hawke. Three New York cops are working through there personal and professional issues:

Eddie (Richard Gere) only has seven days left on the job, he probably has a drinking problem and he has clearly been going through the motions for a long time, maybe for his entire career. He just wants to get the week out of the way so he can move on with his life but the powers that be have other ideas forcing him baby-sit the departments newbie’s.

Tango (Don Cheadle) has been undercover for so long the edges are beginning to blur and he isn’t sure which way is up. He is desperate to get out but he has one last job to do. He is forced to assess his values when he has to set up a person who saved his life.

Sal (Ethan Hawke) is filled with catholic guilt, he also has to deal with his sick and pregnant wife and money problems. It isn’t a question of weather or not he will cross the line, it is how many lines is he is prepared to cross.

The three stories are all compelling and could have made a movie in their own right. As it is, the movie’s structure feels fragmented and sometimes distracting. The thing that saves the movie from descending into mediocrity is great performances from the three leads Hawke, Cheadle and particularly Gere. Richard Gere is somewhat limited in his acting ability but given the right script and character he can be brilliant, this is one of those occasions. The weakest story is the one surrounding Ethan Hawke’s character but his performance and support from Lili Taylor in a small part as his wife and Brian F. O’Byrne as a colleague.  There is also a small but significant part for Wesley Snipes in what is unfortunately these days a rare glimpse of the onetime star in a theatrically released movie

The film starts slowly and sometimes struggles to keep itself on track. The film also lacks any decent female characters giving it a something of a dated feel at times. As it gains momentum it also begins to hold the viewers interest before working itself to a tense and satisfying conclusion. My one underlying feeling is that I have seen the Ethan Hawk and Don Cheadle stories before but Richard Gere’s journeyman cop could have made a great movie on its own.

Three Stars out of Five

Parts of the movie deserve four but as a whole three is fair!

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