Monday, January 26, 2009

Thoughts on the film: Pride and Glory

The first time I saw the preview for Pride and Glory I thought oooooh I should see that. Colin Farrel vs Edward Norton. Hell yes.

Then it came out and it disappeared and I didn't even realize it had ever been in theaters. That right there should have been a clue.

This film started out okay. Edward Norton is a cop who uses his excellent Spanish to chase down the killer of four cops in New York. Along the way we learn that it was really Colin Farrel, his cop brother-in-law, who is the cause of the cop killings. We learn this about ten minutes in, so instead of this being a mystery, it's a cop vs cop battle of wits.

Or so I thought. It turned out to be a hot mess.

First of all, for someone who's referred to the entire movie as being the Big Bad, Farrel is barely in this thing. He may have done a week's worth of work. And he speaks to Norton at the very beginning and then at the very end - in between, even when they're at a family gathering together, they don't have a single conversation. Oh wait they have one when Farrel is being evil. So these two guys who are on opposite sides of an investigation have one interaction the entire movie. What the hell kind of conflict is that?


Remember that great scene in Heat when the cop and the robber sit in a diner and talk? Of course you do, it's a classic. Here Norton doesn't believe his brother-in-law is guilty so he just wanders around in disbelief instead of making this the battle-of-wits I expected. Even after it's obvious Farrel is guilty, Norton still defends him. Only in the last ten minutes of the movie does he finally do something, and by then I had lost interest. There was a cool fist fight at least.

On top of that, the cops who were in on the evil dealings sort of implode in an incredibly illogical way. They do the stupidest shit imaginable and look like complete psychos who never should have held a gun. That would be okay if our hero tracked them down and stopped them, but he doesn't. They run themselves into the ground. And I guess that would be okay too if this was a "you reap what you sow" kind of movie, but it's just so disjointed it's difficult to tell what the point is.


I honestly felt like this was a first draft of a screenplay that just sort of fell into production with no revisions. It had all the elements for being a good film but it needed some script changes it never got.

Conflict, conflict, conflict. Your main character has to face your antagonist at some point in the film. I'm sure there are exceptions, but one thing that ruins most movies faster than anything is lack of direct conflict. Those scenes were missing here. It was all woe-is-me-I-fucked-up. Nothing in this movie was I'm-gonna-get-you-motherfucker, which is what it should have been. It was a waste of some good actors.

1 comment:

  1. The best thing about mediocre films is what you can learn not to do. I discover more about writing when analyzing what didn't work in a film.


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