A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this police drama tackles mature themes that aren't likely to appeal to younger viewers. Older teens familiar with stars Colin Farrell and Edward Norton may be interested, but this is definitely a parents'-night-out pick. There's hard-R language (including "f--k" and its derivatives) and realistic violence that includes multiple shoot-outs and execution-style murders, a suicide, a baby's life put in jeopardy, and a substantial amount of blood. The sex is limited to married couples kissing and embracing and one quick glimpse of a moaning drug dealer and his girlfriend. Drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol are prevalent.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In PRIDE AND GLORY, Edward Norton plays Ray Tierney, a conflicted, second-generation NYPD officer whose older brother Frannie (Noah Emmerich) and brother-in-law Jimmy (Colin Farrell) are also among New York City's Finest. When a suspicious shoot-out leaves four officers in Frannie and Jimmy's precinct dead, Ray reluctantly agrees to join a task force to investigate the murders. What he discovers, much to his high-ranking father's (Jon Voight) horror, is that Jimmy and his station's cronies sell their services and protection to the highest-paying thugs on the streets they patrol.
Is it any good?
While much of the story is predictable, the movie is saved by the performances, especially Norton's and Emmerich's. And Farrell is alternately nuanced and over-the-top but ultimately excels as the shady, unrepentant Jimmy. Unfortunately, things get bogged down by the personal subplots involving the women in the cops' lives, especially the unresolved relationship between Ray and his estranged wife, Tasha (Carmen Ejogo). Jennifer Ehle, who's a brilliant, underrated actress reminiscent of a younger Meryl Streep, does her best as Frannie's cancer-stricken wife, but essentially, the women are one-dimensional.
The most realistic aspect of director Gavin O'Connor's story is how seamlessly he integrated the Dominican gang culture of New York's Washington Heights into the picture. The soundtrack features several songs by popular Latino rappers and Reggaeton stars; the Spanish-speaking characters are actually played by native speakers who can spit out streams of colloquialisms without taking a breath. Granted, it might still be considered un-PC to depict a community as full of gun-toting dealers, but at least O'Connor paid attention to the neighborhood. But that sliver of authenticity can't make up for the fact that this is an overlong crime drama that takes itself too seriously and obviously aims for the heights of Martin Scorsese's The Departed but falls somewhere slightly below the mark of We Own the Night.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the characters' various moral dilemmas. The men were stuck between loyalty to their brothers in blue -- not to mention their actual family -- and their duty to serve and protect. Even unethical characters aren't completely villainous. What motivated Jimmy and his crew to become corrupt? What do you think would have happened if Ray had made a different decision? How is this movie similar to other cop dramas? Do you think this kind of movie needs to include strong violence to be seen as realistic? Why or why not?
- In theaters: October 24, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2009
- Cast: Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Noah Emmerich
- Director: Gavin O'Connor
- Studio: New Line
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, pervasive language and brief drug content.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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