RICHARD GERE ETHAN HAWKE DON CHEADLE
WESLEY SNIPES LILLY TAYLOR ELLEN BARKIN
This isn’t the first time director Antoine Fuqua has explored heavy deceptive violence on screen. Fuqua's past male bravado films like Shooter and Tears of the Sun. Brooklyn’s Finest doesn’t get the Hollywood treatment like his previous endeavors, but certainly casts an eclectic group of actors into a dark and ominous script. The title of the film could be viewed with sarcasm due to the fact that the script lacks any type of protagonist figure. However none of the main featured actors in their plot lines (Gere, Hawke, Cheadle) do anything we haven’t seen them do before. First time feature film screenwriter Michael C. Martin seems to lack the fundamentals of what a crime drama like this should contain.
Eddie (Gere) has been a police officer with the NYPD for over 20 years and with retirement in seven days he is looking forward to a life of continued alcoholism, prostitutes and no real clear vision of a future. He is asked to work with new officers but instead of giving them guidance he speaks about the negatives of the job. Tango (Cheadle) has been an undercover cop and snitch for drug information going on more years than he agreed to. Demanding to be taken off the current case he is promised a healthy promotion. He however finally realizes the backdoor dealings of the NYPD and their intent on nailing someone who isn’t at all the criminal he is made out to be. Finally Sal (Hawke) is a veteran cop in the narcotics division trying to buy a new house for his expectant wife with twins and the three children they currently have. The system isn’t working for him and all the drug money lying around seems like the answer to his problems.
The message in this story seems to be that the police departments of our country are corrupt mostly due to a lack of funds and corrupt officers. Fuqua and Martin fail to connect this film with the audience and on a human level. It feels more like a documentary of the NYPD back door dealings, thus my accusation of the sarcasm in the title. Furthermore with the film broken up into three different character development plots There are moments where we can empathize with Sal because of his family situation but his stubborn character refuses help just to further the negative and dramatic plot of the film.
This is a difficult film to find anything positive to mention because there are no light hearted moments only continuing scenes of darkness and despair. Gere plays one of his most unlikeable character yet with an unbelievable last hour of hope plot device that is suppose to end the film on a good note? Fuqua’s experience and success with his other dark brooding film Training Day seems to feed this story’s material but certainly lacks the energy of that picture.
Final Thought – It’s a Training Day meets The Departed type film only slowed down to a pace that never gets going.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Jennifer Gih