Gavin O’Connor’s Pride and Glory tells the story of police corruption, focusing on an Irish family of New York City police officers. As the movie begins, a massacre takes place during a botched arrest of drug dealer, leaving bodies on both sides. The four officers who die served under Francis Tierney, Jr. (Noah Emmerich) who has been distracted dealing with his wife’s cancer. Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell) is Francis Jr.’s brother-in-law and subordinate. We find out early on that he is a rogue cop, breaking every law in his way to enforce the law. Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) has been on a leave of absence, but returns to investigate the death of his fellow officers at the request of his father Francis Tierney, Sr. (Jon Voight), the Chief of Manhattan Detectives.
As Ray follows the clues, he learns that the drug dealers were tipped off, possibly by someone under Francis Jr. who quickly convinces him otherwise. As Ray’s investigation continues, Jimmy begins his own search for the cop-killer. Their paths converge when Ray arrives while Jimmy and other officers are choking the cop-killer to death. Ray gets them to stop, but then Jimmy frames Ray for the man’s murder. Ray is stuck at a crossroads because the truth could implicate Francis Jr. as well. He has lied before to protect cops, which we learn in the third act is why he was on leave at the film's outset, and the lie even cost him his marriage.
Pride and Glory covers very familiar territory in the genre, not so much that it makes the movie completely clichéd, yet there’s not enough originality to raise it above the rest, which it certainly strives to do. The plotlines about both Tierney brothers' marriages would have been interesting if they had spent more time developing them. We are only shown brief glimpses, which isn’t enough to make the viewer connect with the characters.
The movie is very average as the nice moments cancel out the bad ones. There are some good plot points that aren’t obvious, like the framing of Ray, and then others, like the resolution of the Sandy character, that don’t seen believable and are used to force the story in a certain direction. There are some great moments of tension, particularly the scene where Jimmy threatens a baby with an iron to extract information from a father, but then I had trouble believing Jimmy would have accepted his fate.
Pride and Glory is neither a must-see nor a waste of time and money for fans of the genre. I wouldn’t dissuade anyone interested, but it’s likely best suited for those who can’t get enough crime to rent when it comes out on DVD.