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Friday, March 5, 2010

'BROOKLYN'S FINEST' Movie Review and Story Description

Brooklyn’s Finest: Exclusive trailors and story

Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes topline a police drama that's long on coincidence but otherwise decent.

Grade: B
Stars: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes
Writer(s): Michael C. Martin
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Release Date: March 5th, 2010
Rating: R
Distributor: Overture Films

BROOKLYN’S FINEST, as the title suggests, is a story about various police officers attached to a precinct in Brooklyn. Michael C. Martin’s script sets up three lead characters, each with his own trajectory. These narratives are for the most part so separate that when it comes time to bring everything together for the climax, Martin is forced to rely on a healthy dose of coincidence. Otherwise, since the situations are intriguing, the acting is strong and the dialogue is good, it’s easy to watch, especially under the tight hand of director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY).

As we can see that veteran Brooklyn police officer Eddie (Richard Gere) wakes up every morning contemplating suicide, we know that his long career on the force is not a source of joy, but neither is his soon-impending retirement. In contrast, gung-ho Sal (Ethan Hawke) loves the job, but with a sick wife (Lili Taylor), a houseful of kids and twins on the way, he is so desperate for cash that he’s hoping to steal from the dealers that he and his team bust. Then there’s Tango (Don Cheadle), an undercover officer who wants to come in from the cold and be a regular detective, even before his bosses tell him that the best route to a suit and a desk is by betraying his old drug dealer friend Caz (Wesley Snipes).

The sequences with Cheadle and Snipes are the most engaging, primarily because it’s great to watch Cheadle playing Tango’s reactions on multiple levels and because the two actors have potent chemistry together. However, both of the other storylines have some punch, too. We see enough of the unexpected day-to-day havoc of Eddie’s job to understand how it’s possible to be ground down rather than energized by its daily demands. Hawke seems a little too bright for Sal’s unthinking brashness, so we catch him acting. To be fair, he’s also got the most traditional storyline, and even here, the filmmakers wring some suspense out of how far Sal will go and whether his best friend on the force (Brian F. O’Byrne) will catch on to Sal’s plans in time.

Director Fuqua stages the action sequences with adrenaline and authority; we really get a sense that anything might happen, which is the point. Martin has fun with the dialogue and sets up the individual stories well. However, he doesn’t seed in nearly enough connective tissue for us to buy the way the climax tries to tie them together, causing a lot of skepticism that makes us intellectually question what we’re watching rather than drawing us in for what is intended as a powerful finale.

If one likes some or all of the actors here, and if one can accept that sometimes the journey is better than the destination, BROOKLYN’S FINEST is a decent entry in its genre.

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