Brooklyn's Finest (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/06/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 132 mins

Watchable, well made cop thriller with strong performances from its three leads but the stories are cliched and predictable and the finale fails to land its intended emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Brooklyn's Finest is a story about three Brooklyn cops: cash-strapped Sal (Ethan Hawke) considers stealing some drug money so he can provide for his pregnant wife (Lili Taylor) and their children; Tango (Don Cheadle) is deep undercover in a Departed-style drug gang operation and comes under pressure when he's asked to set up his best friend Caz (Wesley Snipes); and suicidal Eddie (Richard Gere) is just one week away from retirement when he's partnered with a rookie cop in order to show him the ropes but things go horribly wrong when the rookie accidentally shoots a teenager.

The Good
The performances are excellent: Gere brings an intriguingly ambiguous note to Eddie that has us constantly wondering if he'll do the right thing, while Hawke is superb as the increasingly frazzled Sal, particularly in his interactions with both Taylor and Brian F O'Byrne (as his best friend). There's also terrific support from Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin (who doesn't make nearly enough movies – make more movies, Ellen Barkin!), Will Patton (as Tango's handler), Shannon Kane (as Eddie's prostitute girlfriend) and Michael K Williams (aka The Wire's Omar) as Caz's henchman Red.

Despite the lengthy running time, Fuqua's direction keeps each story moving at a decent pace, aided by Barbara Tulliver's impressive editing. Similarly, the production design is suitably sleazy and Patrick Murguia's photography is agreeably atmospheric.

The Bad
The main problem is that the stories themselves are cliched and predictable, resulting in a climax that is unsatisfying, both dramatically and emotionally. Similarly, there are some frustrating plot holes, such as the fact that Sal appears to kill an informer (a great cameo by Vincent D'Onofrio) in the opening scene and yet no mention is ever made of it again.

Worth seeing?
Brooklyn's Finest is worth watching for the performances from the three leads and its talented support cast, but it's slightly let down by a cliched and predictable plot.

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Content updated: 16/09/2019 07:02

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