Pin It
Favorite

Brooklyn's Finest 

A smart, engrossing film for adults.

click to enlarge art15306.jpg

Hooray! It’s a movie for grown-ups! A film outta Hollywood these days that doesn’t deal in blacks and whites and doesn’t pretend to have answers to the hard questions feels like such a rarity. Brooklyn’s Finest — from screenwriter Michael C. Martin, making his feature debut, and director Antoine Fuqua, in a thematic sequel to his astonishing 2001 film Training Day — wails with a quiet, desperate urgency amid the loud brashness that it wears like, well, a badge.

Three very different cops in the same tough Brooklyn precinct struggle with their own individual senses of honor and decency, even as that clashes with their notions of what it takes to survive — psychologically as well as physically — in the job. Their stories are just barely interwoven but the deeply satisfying overall effect is one of threads in a tapestry: of the temptations toward corruption and the urge toward righteousness at war with each other, of an intractably compromised and polarized environment in which life is all about not right and wrong but “righter and wronger.”

Don Cheadle’s been undercover in a powerful drug gang for too long and he’s begging to get out, feeling he’s earned a nice, quiet, comfortable desk job where he can wear a suit every day. Ethan Hawke is assigned to an anti-drug squad, the kind of badass gang that flies in — guns a’blazin’ — to clean up dealers’ operations. Richard Gere is still a street cop in uniform after 22 years and a scant week away from retiring. If you think you know where the cop-about-to-retire cliché is going, well ... Martin and Fuqua are not above having a sly bit of fun amid all the anguish and constant low-level horrors on display.

You can’t spoil this kind of movie: It’s too twisty, too reliant on its complicated characters to move it forward, too dedicated to making sure you feel like you’re seeing a slice of real, miserable life. It’s a full hour into the film before these three stories begin to intersect. By then, I was hooked, spellbound by what disasters I thought I saw coming but was helpless to turn away from. (Rated R)

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Enemy No. 1
  • Enemy No. 1

    Oliver Stone's Snowden doesn't break new ground but is still a thrill ride
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • True West
  • True West

    The Magnificent Seven returns to a much-needed territory: Western heroism
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Scratch That
  • Scratch That

    Bridget Jones's Baby feels almost proudly stuck in another era
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Kongos, the Joy Formidable

Kongos, the Joy Formidable @ Knitting Factory

Tue., Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

  • Horror Re-runs
  • Horror Re-runs

    Blair Witch can't capture the found-footage magic of the original
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Casted Away
  • Casted Away

    The Wild Life abandons its Robinson Crusoe source material
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Gun Show
  • Gun Show

    Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are armed and dangerous in the true story War Dogs
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Art of the Deal

    Local indie labels offer artists another marketing option, but not everyone is convinced they're necessary
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

COUNTRY


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Seashell Secrets
  • Seashell Secrets

    Song of the Sea is a beautiful story of siblings struggling to cope and understand each other
    • Feb 25, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation