Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Brooklyn’s Finest”

(Overture Films. Rated R for bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language. 2 hours, 13 minutes. Directed by Antoine Fuqua.) Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Barkin, Will Patton, Brian F. O’Byrne, Vincent D’Onofrio. Music by Marcelos Zarvos.

Not-so-fine crime drama which attempts to interweave separate stories about 3 cops, each working in New York’s tough East Brooklyn precinct. It’s a handsome production, set on location; the main problem is the convoluted, violent, bleak script, by a former NYC transit worker who grew up in the borough. The comparisons being made to Crash, The Departed, and Fuqua’s own Training Day, or any number of dirty-cop movies signal that there’s not a lot here you haven’t already seen, many times. The actors all acquit themselves well. Gere, still handsome at 60, plays a burnout beat cop one week away from retirement. He’s already checked out mentally, counting the days with liquor, playing possible-suicide with his revolver, and treating the hooker (Shannon Kane) he sees as his girlfriend.

Hawke plays Sal, Brooklyn’s most Irish-looking Italian-American, with a brood of kids and a sickly wife (Lili Taylor, blink and you’ll miss her) expecting twins. The most corrupt of the three, he skims from drug busts in order to pay the bills. The always-good Cheadle’s an undercover cop nicknamed Tango, whose wife has left him; he’s dying for a desk job (and his wife back), but may have to betray his drug-dealer pal Casanova (Snipes) in order to get it. (Tango and Cas?) Hawke’s unraveling is the most interesting thing to watch, but the denouement, where all three cops end up at the same housing project building, is implausible at best, like most everything that came before. Didn’t Gere star in a movie called Internal Affairs? Just wondering how these cops all get to run amok the way they do without anybody calling them on it. This movie premiered at Sundance last year; the ending’s been changed since then (originally there was a suicide). I wonder if it might have worked better than the awkward freeze-frame close they’ve got now. Well, maybe not. Good support from Barkin, Patton, O’Bryne, and D’Onofrio.

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