It’s nice to see Colin Farrell making a name for himself after disastrous miscalculations like Alexander and Miami Vice. In Pride and Glory, he co-stars with Edward Norton in a gritty, grim, and at times, tense cop drama. Overlong and with a lackluster, forced ending however, the payoff isn’t worth the wait.
Corrupt cop dramas are far too common. The pairing of Ferrell and Norton feels like it’s trying to play off of Righteous Kill with DeNiro and Pacino, another drama in the same vein released a few weeks prior theatrically. Thankfully, Pride and Glory is a better film. It concerns a large family of NYPD officers, some corrupt and some not. Farrell is truly evil at times, playing a character willing to burn a newborn with an iron for information to cover his tracks after using his badge to commit murders for cash.
The story wanders often here, playing up the family aspect of the film with overlong scenes like a Christmas celebration. Excluding credits, the movie just breaks the two-hour mark, but feels longer. A lot of exposition goes nowhere or feels unneeded.
Performances are excellent across the board, including the under-appreciated Noah Emmerich as the captain of the corrupt portion of the NYPD. The sheer number of F-bombs can be comical at times, almost as if it’s trying to too hard to be authentic, yet stepping way over the line.
Within the final 20 minutes, the film begins to gain momentum. A gripping hostage situation makes for outstanding cinema, not to mention finally giving the film some action to break free from the dialogue-driven script. Sadly, Pride and Glory can’t capitalize on this momentum. It ends with a ridiculous and campy fight, followed by an unsatisfying attempt to create an emotional ending.
Pride isn’t a complete waste of time, and it’s the better of the two big names in corrupt cop movie dramas from 2008 by a long shot. Its bombardment of dialogue, which isn’t necessary, and a completely unsatisfying ending keep it from becoming something great.
The film carries its tone over into its video style. A veneer of grain sits over the film at all times. Black levels waver from time to time, revealing some artifacting in this VC-1 encode (around the hour and half mark). A few mild instances of edge enhancement are nothing to worry about.
Detail is exceptional, even when the film carries a murky, drab look. Contrast is excellent and never overblown, while sharpness remains high throughout. Flesh tones are accurate, although the deliberately grim look of the film doesn’t give the colors much pop.
Given the lack of action, this TrueHD 5.1 mix establishes ambience early but then falters. The opening football game is loaded with the sound of a crowd in all five channels. Nicely immersive surround activity is noticeable inside the police station and the occasional street scene. It’s not consistent enough to be remarkable in any way. Dialogue can be mixed slightly low. Bass is all but non-existent, save for the rare musical cue when it nicely comes into play.
Only one extra is included – an hour long documentary, Source of Pride, quite extensively detailing the shoot from its original concept to trouble with the studio and finished film. It’s excellent despite only being presented in SD. Still, there are no deleted scenes, BD-Live capability, or even a trailer or two.
Pride and Glory was set to go back in 2001 with Mark Wahlberg and Hugh Jackman. With 9/11, the studio rightfully halted production as they felt releasing a drama around the NYPD wasn’t proper. It was the right call by New Line.