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".
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.
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!
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.
[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]