Synopsis: Three cops struggle with their choices and futures.
Release Date: November 27, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Drama
The camera cranes above in a wide aerial shot of the Brooklyn Projects. Large sterile identical buildings litter the ground of this place, mimicking the perception that a people, not people, inhabit their walls. Different divisions of the Police force patrol this area, or are encased in it as undercover agents. The film takes us into their lives and their struggles. It offers us a glimpse into a place that is broken; overrun by drugs, dirty money, and unspeakable crimes. This is a dark world that Director Antoine Fuqua invites the viewer into. Where suspense and turmoil are at every turn and it becomes difficult to separate the good from the bad, the redeemable from the lost.
As an ensemble cast who’s lives only partially connect throughout the film all of the performances give the viewer something to grasp a hold of and hang on as the characters delve deeper into their contradictory worlds. The most memorable, and haunting, is that of Ethan Hawke’s performance as Sal. As part of the drug enforcement division of the police and a genuine Catholic family man he seemingly appears to be good. Alas, he is a tortured soul and tormented by his inability to provide more for his family. Sal’s decent into darkness is haunting as his desperation builds throughout the film. Hawke dives straight into Sal’s plight. He maneuvers through his crisis of conscience with great force and leaves the viewer yearning to learn his fate. As his eyes grow dark and the camera closes in on his face we see the absolute change in Sal through Hawke and how his desire to do good by his family has instead changed him into a monstrous being.
Shadow and light. Two things that become synonymous with this film. The duality of characters and the internal struggles they face is showcased through the usage of shadow. A face reflected partially in a mirror, the human shadow traced along a metal fence running from unspeakable deeds, or the grate of a confessional booth disguising the man who sits there trying to justify his actions. All of these uses, and many more, only further exemplify the darkness and the light of all the characters involved in the story. No man is perfect and even good men can do terrible unspeakable things when pushed to the limits of control.
The cinematographer, Patrick Murguia, may have excelled in his usage of shadow and light but his focus is in need of work. There is an abundant use of racking focus in the film. During these scenes the depth of field is usually narrow and focused on one character with another in the background or foreground. When the camera switches its focus to the other character the technique is not smooth or gradual. It appears that Murguias’ lens is confused on what direction to take so he quickly and clumsily maneuvers through the scene. It is highly disruptive and takes away from the moment at hand as your eyes are constantly trying to adjust and decipher just what your focus should be trained upon.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Antoine FuquaAvi Lerner
- Producer(s): Michael C. MartinRichard Gere (Eddie Dugan)
- Screenwriter(s): Don Cheadle (Tango)Ethan Hawke (Sal)Wesley Snipes (Caz)
- Cast: Barbara TulliverPatrick Murguia
- Editor(s): Juliet Polcsa
- Cinematographer: Marcelo ZarvosBrainstorm Digital
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA