The new crime drama Pride and Glory boasts a strong cast that includes Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight. Unfortunately, the story by director Gavin O'Connor and Joe Carnahan (Narc) is too conventional for its own good, not to mention that it closely resembles James Gray's We Own The Night.
O'Connor, director of Miracle and Tumbleweeds, stages a gritty tale of corruption, making decent use of its Big Apple locations.
It's about a two-generational tale with police-officer brothers divided between their profession and family as a scandal grips the department.
O'Connor and his twin brother producer Gregory happen to have a father who's a New York city cop, but cannot generate something riveting like Sidney Lumet used to with the likes of Al Pacino and Treat Williams. The police force has much occupational inheritance as the storymakers (along with consultant Det. Robert Hopes) understand.
Pride and Glory has an auspicious, taut start as four city cops are murdered in an ambush that puts the department on high alert. Voight's top detective Francis Tierney asks son Det. Ray Tierney (Norton) to look into what seemed to be a drug deal gone horribly bad.
The somewhat crestfallen Ray realizes the downed officers were under the guidance of his brother, Francis Tierney, Jr. (Noah Emmerich of Frequency) and close to his family-minded brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan (Farrell, not as good as his torn In Bruges hitman). The evidence leads to Jimmy and Francis having connections to the drug dealers, as the investigation pits the trust of fellow officers and the department to come into question.
An urban procedural that has been in the can for a while doesn't leave much for the audience to grapple with. Norton, Voight, and Farrell demonstrate the requisite emotions like Mark Wahlberg and Joaquim Phoenix did in Gray's similarly predictable period policier. In the orbit of the Tierneys and Egan are cops, informants, drug dealers, and cop killers with Shea Whigham, Manny Perez, Rick Gonzalez, and Ramon Rodriquez standing out among many.
But Pride and Glory, with its many heated confrontations and outbursts among two generations of cops, offers some redemption as a parable from its deteriorating domestic front. Offering effective support are especially a bald-pated Jennifer Ehle as Francis's very sick wife and Lake Bell (What Happens in Vegas) as Jimmy's wife who begins to see how his involvement has turned her life upside down. One had only wish that the filmmakers and characters, however well-played, could have the material to make the harsh realism and all of its conflicts resonate with a timely, emotional verisimilitude.