The limp, generic police drama “Pride and Glory” can be seen as a second-rate sequel to James Gray’s 2007 film, “We Own the Night.” Despite the film’s considerably talented cast, this overcooked thriller is a disappointment. The film’s script leaves little to the imagination and is cluttered by useless subplots that will have you scratching your head the entire time… when you’re not too busy laughing at its silly dialogue. It’s little wonder this film has languished in post-production hell since its completion back in 2005.
I wasn’t expecting a failure of this magnitude when I saw the trailers: The film’s fast-paced, dark previews suggested that it would be worth audience-goers’ money, but the film itself fails to deliver. Something must be said when the previews for a film are better than the film itself.
Also, it’s difficult to comprehend how a film that’s assembled such a talented group of actors could be this blatantly average. Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight are all huge names in the industry, with numerous acting awards and accolades among them, but this film’s script is so bad that not even the best guys in the business could save it. It doesn’t help that none of them are convincing as police officers.
The characters are nothing more than boring prototypes of the genre: Ray Tierney (Norton), the film’s protagonist, comes from a family of cops and, of course, is himself upholding the family business. His brother, Francis (Noah Emmerich) is the head of the precinct, their father (Voight) is a respected veteran cop and their brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan, is a part of the force as well.
Ray’s dark past, which I think has something to do with his involvement in some sort of crooked scheme (but I can’t be sure, as the film makes little effort at maintaining even a modicum of coherency), keeps Ray behind a desk instead of on the field working.
After a massacre of four of his brothers’ guys and his brother-in-law’s officers, Ray is brought on board to solve the case. All of the clues begin to point to his brother-in-law, and even Ray’s own brother, at the top of the hierarchy, is above suspicion.
As Ray comes closer to the truth and the lies begin to unravel, blood begins to be shed and the truth starts eating everyone involved alive. Family is a memory of the past and betrayal is the new code of honor. The film ends with a brutal attack, but only some of the truth finally comes out, and only a few of the guilty are punished.
As with other mediocre cop procedurals, “Pride and Glory” is bogged down by many unnecessary, weakly constructed subplots that attempt to add to our understanding of these characters and their motivations. The film only reveals glimpses of Ray’s crumbling marriage, and its inclusion of Ray’s terminally ill sister-in-law seems contrived only to pull artificially at viewers’ heartstrings.
Ultimately, the only thing that kept my interest during the two-hour viewing experience was the appeal of the (almost) always terrific Edward Norton. Beyond that, this is sure to be one of the soon-to-be-forgotten film of 2008.