Posts Tagged ‘Richard Gere’

Brooklyn’s Finest

March 29th, 2010
Brooklyn’s Finest

Brooklyn’s Finest

Rating: ★★★★☆

Movie: Brooklyn’s Finest (2010)

Studio : Millenium Films

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 132 min

Website :

Trailer :


I’m currently teaching a class in introductory literature, during which students are required to read one play. This semester, that play will be Oedipus Rex. As I’ve been rereading the play and attempting to tie it into my lessons on Greek tragedy, I couldn’t help but think of Brooklyn’s Finest, which stars three characters who could easily be tragic heroes in a Greek drama.

The first is Tango (Don Cheadle), a narc who’s been undercover for so long that he’s become confused about where his loyalties lie, particularly to Caz (a returning Wesley Snipes), a drug dealer who apparently saved him during a prison riot when he did an undercover stint there. Eddie (Richard Gere) is a burnt-out patrolman with seven days left before retirement. We first see him when he wakes himself up by chugging some whiskey and pointing a revolver into his mouth. Ethan Hawke is Sal, a detective with a wife and family that’s too big to support, with a set of twins on the way. In desperation, he’s taken to robbing drug dealers.

The movie intercuts these three stories, as we’re meant to see the hardships that real New York City cops endure: it’s the antidote to the fake buddy cop picture. We see Tango’s frustration appear to drift into borderline madness as he keeps being promised Detective First Grade by his supervisor (Will Patton) and threatened by a slimy agent (Ellen Barkin) if he doesn’t bust Caz. Eddie’s being asked to mentor rookie cops by taking them into the high-crime Brooklyn streets that have worn him down. His “retirement ceremony” brings some dark humor, all the more because it’s so sad. Sal’s wife (Lili Taylor) has to go to the hospital because of mold on the ceiling, which is threatening the health of her unborn twins. “Can you move to a bigger house?” the doctor asks. If only he knew…

The pacing here is excellent. Antoine Fuqua, the director of Training Day, does a great job at moving back and forth between these three stories, never dwelling on one for too long but allowing us enough time to get to know each character. The only downside was I had a hard time sympathizing with Hawke’s character, who seems to have put himself in his predicament of “too many kids.” My reasons will make me sound inhuman, so I’ll stop there.

The cinematography is fitting to the story as well. We don’t see overhead shots of the Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan skyline in the background, like most New York-set movies. Shots are limited to the streets, because this is the world occupied by these cops. The romance of New York is lost by most people who live there, but these guys appear to see it as a crime-ridden hellhole. With the exception of a shot of a subway station and the Brooklyn accents (well-done by both Gere and Hawke), this could really take place in any city.

One of my favorite movies is Requiem for a Dream, based on the Hubert Selby book. I hadn’t seen his name on any of the previews, but I wondered for a bit if the screenplay had been adapted from one of his novels. Brooklyn served as a fitting backdrop for his stories, all of which focused on multiple characters suffering from their own faults, and ultimately, succumbing to the consequences to follow. Michael C. Martin and Brad Caleb Kane, the screenwriters, certainly seem to have been inspired. It’s well-written and well-made. Not as good as Training Day, but worth the trip to the theater.

-Craig Wynne

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