Narc Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2008
Brilliant film about an undercover narcotics officer in Detroit who is brought back into a murder case of a fellow policeman after he is suspended from the force due to a drug bust gone awry.
Jason Patric and Ray Liotta star in this mesmerizing film that has quite a twist and mood to it created by the dim cinematography, apt score and of course, the bleak subject matter that allows for real suspense and tension between the good, bad, and the ugly.
This is one of those films that kind of got swept under the carpet, but is definitely a fine film worth checking out. Jason Patric is an underrated actor who turns in yet another good piece of character work and probably his best since "Rush" and "After Dark My Sweet". I'd say that this film is kind of Jason Patric's "Serpico".
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2006
A detective discharged after the accidental shooting of a pregnant bystander is partnered with a veteran detective with a reputation for excessive force to track down the killers who murdered an undercover cop. In the highly overpopulated genre of the cop thriller, Narc is neither the most original or most action packed, but what it does brilliantly is in the details. Carnahan is obviously influenced by the gritty cop dramas of the 1970s, particularly the likes of Serpico and The French Connection and the result is a very hardcore and believable character study of the men trapped in the grimy world they are trying to bring to justice. It features dialogue that's not exactly high art, but always rings true (even in the unsentimental domestic drama involving Patric and his wife) which combined with the excellent central performances make you actually feel submerged in his twilight world. Carnahan is perhaps occasionally a little too filter happy and gimmicky in his direction and the ending feels a little too neat considering the grittiness of the rest of the story, but if you like modern cop dramas such as The Wire and The Shield, you'll love this.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2011
One of the best hard-nosed cop dramas of recent memory. I know it's not exactly original but I was riveted the entire time I was watching it. Jason Patric and Ray Liotta turn in some amazing performances. It's also great to see Chi McBride given a serious role for a change. Joe Carnahan is one of my top directors to watch out for. The guy definitely has the chops to full off a good solid flick, and this is one of them. It has a lot of substance and style and keeps you interested at every turn. So what if it reminds me of Homicide: Life on the Street? I don't care. This is a damn good movie!
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2010
A riveting, pulse-pounding story concerning a disturbed cop (Jason Patric) needing a rebound case to find his way back in to the good graces of the force after an ugly accident leaves him emotionally scarred. When he is offered the opportunity to partner up with a dirty, mean lieutenant (Ray Liotta) who is stalking the killer of his partner, he event...ually accepts. One of the best, most under-appreciated drug thrillers constructed in the last ten-fifteen years or so, this story excels mostly due to its direction. Joe Carnahan's desaturated color choice fits the mood of the city of Detroit so well, as he competently captures the depression and darkness associated within a crime-ridden region. Ray Liotta's explosive performance is something straight out of Hell. He never for a second feels like he's forcing it, as his monstrous and all too real feeling character won't leave your memory quickly. Jason Patric's tortured, yet very human performance as well proves to be very crucial to the success of this story. The ending delivers some nasty twists and turns I did not see coming. Without question a great thriller, whose only notable flaw is leaving the audience hanging at its conclusion.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2010
Gritty and hard hitting but not the most original plot line with a fantastic performance from Ray Liotta. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2010
A well made, well paced & well acted thriller that's a bit flawed in its telling.
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2010
Ray Liotta has spent his post 'Goodfellas' years in rental fodder like Corrina, Corrina, Turbulence, and Operation Dumbo Drop; however, in Narc, his turn as Harry Oak, a sweaty, overweight and coked-up detective is absolutely fantastic (hell, there isn't a bad performance to be found... and that surprisingly includes Busta Rhymes as well).

From its harrowing and spellbinding opening sequence, right through to the shocking finale, Narc is bleak and relentless, but fans of police dramas from both TV and the 70s shouldn't miss it. Director Joe Carnahan -- who also penned the script -- finds the perfect mix of procedure and predicament as Tellis (Jason Patric) and Oak (Liotta) scour the streets of Detroit only to find that their clues lead right back to the force they're part of.

What makes the film stand out is the absence of real hero characters. As Tellis, Patric has the advantage over Liotta, but the fact that the two detectives have let their personal lives become drowned out by crime makes you wonder if you could bet on either of them to do the right thing. Liotta eats up the scenes, whacking a wife beater with a cue ball in a sock, warning Tellis not to get in his way and charging through every door shotgun first.

Trapped between admiration and suspicion for the older man, Patric's character gets slowly swallowed up again into a job that nearly killed him 18 months before and his desire to solve the case becomes a way of redemption from his past mistakes. You'll think you've spotted the ending from a long way off but just when you're convinced the evidence is air tight, Carnahan twists the whole story, leaving you with this ache of regret that the mismatched duo didn't have more faith in each other from the start.

Impeccably shot, and relentless in its gritty realism, Narc may go down in history as the greatest police drama nobody has seen -- which is a shame. Made for just $5m - if there were any justice, it would have earned 15 times that -- there isn't singly once of this film that isn't fully realized. A masterful effort from Carnahan and company.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2007
Well crafted and stylish but kind of everything you've seen before. The opening sequence is spectacular.
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2008
Grimy, Gritty & Brutal with great perfs from Liotta & Patric, But what made this movie really interesting for me was its fantastic ending, Carnahan's great debut
Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 2007
A gritty, riveting and electrifying thriller. A real pulse-pounding and adreniline-pumping rush of a film. One of the most powerful films I've ever seen. It goes right over the line of where most police films wouldnt. You'll be guessing right till the very end with it's breathtaking suspense. Mind-blowing, explosive and unforgettable. Jason Patric and Ray Liotta give performances in which movie legends are made of. Liotta is explosive, his unforgettable portrayel as this veteran narcotics cop with an agenda could possiably be his best work ever. Patrick is teriffic, his performance is so raw, and moving it's if he actualley lived this role. This is the most intense, stylish, realistic and revealing police drama about prociedure that i have seen.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2006
Henry Oak: I remember one night. I went with the sheriffs on a warrant raid. This dipshit was selling meth out of his apartment. Just a stop-and-pop. Broke down the door, rousted the guy. I was in one of the back rooms looking for junk when I hear something. I turn around and see these... eyes staring at me from a closet. It was a little girl. A little ten year old girl. Naked. Shaking like a leaf; she was scared to death. Her stepfather was pimping her out for rent. I wrapped her in my coat, carried her out to the squad car. I went back... and I beat that motherfucker half to death.

Following an incident flushing an undercover narcotics cop out of his cover, he is put on to a murder case of another officer where the trail has gone cold.

This officer teams up with the murdered cops partner, who is a big bear of a man who will do what he has to to get the job done.

These two move around Detroit together, going after drug dealers/users, trying to find answers, with some twists along the way.

Ray Liotta gained a lot of weight to put himself in the role of this big hulking cop who wants to find the killer of his partner.

Jason Patric is also really good as the fellow narc. There are also good scenes involving his personal life with his wife and newborn son to further expand on his character.

There is also some good supporting work from the always reliable Chi McBride as a police captain and Busta Rhymes of all people, as a shady drug figure.

The movie starts off great with some shaky camera work during a chase scene and then continues on a dark gritty path where everything seems to be saturated in blues and dark themes.

The various transitions, split screen actions, and flashback scenes that all work well for a low budget cop flick like this one.

This is a very gritty cop movie, with good performances, and a good looking, dark visual style.

Latroy Steeds: I wanna see my lawyer!
Henry Oak: What did you say?
Latroy Steeds: I wanna see my lawyer.
Henry Oak: There are no lawyers, dumb fuck! It's just me and you, and I am in your shit for the duration!
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2007
Very gritty cop thriller.
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2007
Directed by: Joe Carnahan.
Starring: Ray Liotta, Jason Patric, Chi McBride.

Now this is how you make a cop movie.

I will first start off by saying that the first film I saw from Joe Carnahan was Smokin' Aces a few weeks back and while it was extremely stylish, exciting and enjoyable, it lacked characters and when it came to emotional scenes, it missed the mark....This film hits them. A beautifully shot, gritty cop drama that moves at a very fast pace and slows down in the right spots to introduce the characters more to us, which certainly helps in later scenes. Joe Carnahan once again shows his hard-edged visual flair and it is nothing short of amazing. His script, while a tad formulaic, has well written dialogue, a great story and some dark humour thrown into the mix. And I can't go on without mentioning the very solid performances from Ray Liotta and Jason Patric, both on par with each other throughout the entire film, showing that they can most certainly act.

A film of quality and a amazingly solid cop drama that set Joe Carnahan as a new filmmaker to watch out for. A must see.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2006
I found the first part of this film pretty boring, but part way through it suddenly came alive and turned out to be a pretty decent film. Great performances from both Jason Patric and Ray Liotta.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2007
Well done, albeit a movie without a single second of hope, humor, or even vague contentment. Still, the acting is passable, and the gritty dark ambiance fits nicely with the slightly convoluted plot. Still, expect your entertainment to come at the price of being drained of all happiness for a hour or so. I'm still on the fence as to whether it was worth it or not, or whether a person dying from trying to toke-up with a shotgun can be truly considered an entire movies "comic relief"
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2007
Liotta deserved far more praise than he got for his work here.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2006
Good but not amazing.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2006
I had thought before Narc that the days of the serious cop movie were dead and buried, replaced with pathetic action movies like Bad Boys. That all changed with this, a superbly gritty, no-nonsense crime story in the vein of The French Connection or Serpico. Liotta gives his best work since GoodFellas and Patric is surpisingly ace. Carahan recieved blessing for his style from Friedkin, and it's easy to see why. Fades, hand-held camerawork, stark cinematography and a simply incredible opening scene make this truly essential.
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2006
Decent cop thriller that concentrates on characters and emotions instead of non-stop action. Entertaining and with a nice little twist at the end. Busta Rhymes ain a small role as gangsta!
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Stop me if you?ve heard this before. A hard-nosed and diligent cop (Jason Patrick) gets taken off the force after in accident while serving in the field. The bureau brings him back in the help of solving a case collecting cobwebs, the death of an officer undercover. This cop gets teamed up with a hothead (Ray Liotta) who doesn?t ?play by all the rules? who becomes increasingly more suspicious that said hothead breaks more rules than enforces. Oh, and diligent cop?s neglected wife and child incessantly worry over his well being as he becomes consumed by the work. What?s that, you want me to stop? Well okay then.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]So what do we get with ?Narc?? Well, Ray Liotta yells. A lot. He?ll huff and puff until smoke blows out his ears and veins jump from his neck. Liotta eats scenery uncontrollably like Marlon Brando left alone at the Cheesecake Factory. Liotta even gained significant weight for the role but this is no Jake Lamata. The only place Liotta can take ?Narc? is a one-way stop to dullsville.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]?Narc? attempts to tell a gritty police drama in the same manner of ?The French Connection? but, instead, turns into every other ?gritty? cop movie. The twists (I use this word lightly because every turn is easily telegraphed) do nothing to liven up this rote rogue copper flick.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Let?s face it, every cop drama is plot driven, even the classics like ?LA Confidential? and ?The French Connection?. So if you don?t have a good story then there?s no gas in this car. And ?Narc? barely runs on fumes.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Writer/director Joe Carnahan tries to play window dressing with some superfluous camera tricks in an attempt to jazz up the proceedings. The opening handheld chase scene could give the makers of ?The Blair Witch Project? motion sickness. The editing can at times simulate an annoying fly buzzing around your ear. The result of these tricks is like covering a turd with chocolate and selling it to the masses.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]?Narc? won?t quicken any pulses or knock any socks out of their vicinity. So what will you get? Well Ray Liotta yelling at you, which, surprisingly, could lead to audience narc-olepsy. Even that horrible pun is better than watching the film. I think that says it all. Watch 'The Shield' on FX instead.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: C [/color][/font]
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