Critics Consensus

Jason Patric and Ray Liotta are electrifying in this gritty, if a little too familiar, cop drama.



Total Count: 158


Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,755
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Movie Info

Nick Tellis is a recovering drug addict. But staying clean is not so easy for this Detroit narcotics officer when the police department reinstates him in order to investigate an elusive 'narc' squad homicide. After a rookie cop is mysteriously killed in the line of duty, the police department teams Tellis up with the dead cop's partner--the volatile Lieutenant Henry Oak--to solve the murder. Soon the two of them find themselves crawling through the mean streets of Detroit. Their probative investigation leads them through filthy drug dens, crack houses, and alleyways to track the killer, but these all too familiar surroundings plague Tellis like a nightmare. As Tellis gets closer to revealing the truth behind the murder, he finds himself in jeopardy of losing his family, his dignity, and his life.


Ray Liotta
as Det. Lt. Henry R. Oak
Jason Patric
as Det. Sgt. Nick Tellis
Chi McBride
as Capt. Cheevers
Busta Rhymes
as Darnell `Big D Love' Beery
Anne Openshaw
as Katherine Calvess
Dan Leis
as Elvin Dowd
Lloyd Adams
as Walter Dandridge
Lina Felice
as Jeanine Mueller
A.C. Peterson
as Freeman Franks
Karen Robinson
as Liz Detmer
Booth Savage
as Cecil Mitchum
Alan Van Sprang
as Michael Calvess
Krista Bridges
as Audrey Tellis
Thomas Patrice
as Off. Marcotte
Meagan Issa
as Little Girl
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Critic Reviews for Narc

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (132) | Rotten (26)

Audience Reviews for Narc

  • Nov 29, 2011
    Not only is "Narc" a riveting crime thriller, but is also a fascinating character study. Its characters are mortal and flawed, and their choices between morals are depicted not in black and white, but in gritty shades of gray.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2011
    Not only is Narc is a great crime-thriller, but it is also a great character study. It's characters are mortal, it's characters are flawed, and their choices between values aren't depicted in black and white, but in gritty shades of gray. The lead in this film is played by Jason Patric (who has a familiar name but not a familiar face) and he plays his character perfectly. Here is a man with past drug abuse and a case that he botched. Because of this, he has been suspended from the force. Now, this is routine for police movies like this. There is always a misbegotten past that the lead carries around with them like a ball and chain, and they experience the after-effects of that past every day. But it's the way that Patric plays his part so realistically that makes this a tense watch. And up until those final moments, where I sat with bated breath, waiting and watching, Patric convinced the hell out of me. There is another great performance from a man that is not-so-great in many other movies, and that man is Ray Liotta. Here he plays the trigger-happy renegade cop who spends half of the movie either foaming at the mouth, hurling the f-word from his mouth twenty times a minute or standing in calm silence until he jumps upon a lowlife and beats the hell from them. Now, this type of bats-in-the-belfry character is prevalent in many movies. There is many an actor that has played this kind of character before, and Ray Liotta is the best that I have seen (yes, even better than Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast). His portrayal of Henry Oak is incredibly convincing and captivating. Are the two lead performances the only reason to watch this movie? No. Joe Carnahan (who I don't find admirable) does a great job with directing., even through the financial strain that he, and the rest of the crew, went under while making this movie. There is plenty of that gritty, Michael Mann-style camerawork that makes the whole thing seem more visceral and realistic. For those people who grow tired of seeing the same police procedurals show up in the theaters every other month or so, I am on your side. Narc is not one of those movies.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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!
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 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.
    Dan S Super Reviewer

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