Director/screenwriter Gavin O’Connor and his twin brother, producer Gregory O”Connor, are sons of an Irish NYPD officer and fully understand the conflicts cops struggle with when they go to work every day.
Chief of Manhattan Detectives Francis Tierney Sr. (Jon Voight) takes great pride in his family. His older son, Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich), is a police inspector, bravely dealing with his wife”s terminal cancer. His son-in-law, Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell), is on the force. And his younger son, Ray (Edward Norton), is a detective. So when four officers are murdered in a failed drug bust in Washington Heights during the Christmas season, it”s not surprising that Francis Sr. asks Ray to head a task force to track down the killers. What he discovers is that someone tipped off the dealers, namely, renegade cops in the 31st precinct selling their shields to become murderers-for-hire.
Working from a pulpy script co-written with Joe Carnahan (“Narc”), Gavin O”Connor”s (“Miracle,” “Tumbleweeds”) direction and Declan Quinn’s photography reek with bleak, gritty realism. Edward Norton, Jon Voight and Colin Farrell deliver top-notch performances. While female characters are peripheral, Jennifer Ehle and Lake Bell make their scenes memorable. Yet the melodrama is all too familiar and the dialogue is clogged with cliches, like “We protect our own” and “he was a good man once.” Plus, the bruising, visceral violence goes over-the-top when Jimmy viciously threatens to burn a Hispanic infant with a hot iron and becomes laughably absurd in a climactic bare-knuckles bar brawl.
Suffering when compared with dramas like “The Departed,” “American Gangster,” and “We Own the Night” (about father/son loyalty/career clashes), on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Pride and Glory” is a brutal, scummy 6. It‘s a misery-laden, all-too-conventional corrupt cop story.