Sundance Review: Brooklyn's Finest
Attempting to recover from recent missteps, director Antoine Fuqua reaches to recapture the career glory of Training Day by returning to the much traveled corrupt cops genre. This time itís not one cop, but three, in one of those separate lives which all come together in the end concoctions weíve all grown so tired of since Crash.
Brooklynís Finest is not a subtle film. This is the kind of movie which introduces a character by having him wake up, drink whiskey, and put a gun in his mouth. It would be funny if it werenít so clumsy, so disaffecting, and so off-putting. It only goes from bad to worse, as the movie waffles between the ridiculous and the ridiculously depressing. The characters weíre watching never seem to develop true personalities, beyond caricatures weíve already seen done better in a myriad of other television shows and movies. Their motivations, are more often than not, confusing. Ethan Hawkeís Sal moans constantly about how desperate his family is for a new home. This house is too small! We need more room, he proclaims while sitting at home playing poker in a gigantic, basement entertainment room with his buddies. Hey asshole, how about ditching the poker table in favor of a few bunk beds?
The movieís dead end, ill-conceived story and half-wit direction isnít helped much by its actors. Richard Gere and his one facial expression are woefully miscast as Eddie Dugan; a hard drinking, worn out, disinterested cop on his way to retirement. Eddie is written as if heís Bruce Willisís burned out cop character from 16 Blocks, but played by Gere as if heís an impotent Lancelot with a penchant for hookers and a perpetual hangover. As for Don Cheadle, the manís too damn talented to suck completely, but you canít make magic when youíre forced to flail around at life ineffectually on your way to doing something stupid and deadly.
About all Brooklynís Finest has going for it is vicious brutality. Even that seems to work against it. Itís as if Fuqua wanted his audience to hate his film, and did everything he could think of to make us walk out of the theater loathing every minute we spent in it. There are one or two moments where the movie seems to work, but theyíre fleeting and not nearly enough in this interminably long, brutally stupid, been there done that cop movie.
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