The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: New Line - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 130 Minutes
Genre: Crime Drama
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Noah Emmerich, Jon Voight, Jennifer Ehle, Jon Ortiz, Rick Gonzalez
Directed by: Gavin O'Connor
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by: Joe Carnahan & Gavin O'Connor
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 27, 2009
"Truth. Honor. Loyalty. Family. What are you willing to sacrifice?"
Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich star in a gritty, tension-packed tale of a multigenerational family of cops facing hard realities and tough choices. Set and filmed in Manhattans Washington Heights, Pride and Glory draws you into a grippingly raw real world...and into a house divided.
My Take:Every time I watch a film that deals with police corruption I can't help but examine it closely. I find that they tend to reverse the roles and paint the police as crazed, money grubbing opportunists who are capable of practically anything. On the other hand their victims (generally criminals) are looked at in a light that consistently lessens the perception of their criminal culpability. In watching Pride and glory I felt that this gap was narrower and that both the cops and their victims were closer in terms of the extent of what they perpetrated. Things kick off when four NYC cops are killed in a Washington Heights apartment during an exchange of gunfire with a group of known drug dealers. One of the gunmen escapes and Chief of Detectives Francis Tierney Sr. (Voight) puts together a task force to track him down. He asks his son Ray (Norton) who is a Detective to join the task force which Ray reluctantly agrees to. Ray is carrying some personal baggage that stems from an on duty incident that occurred several years earlier and he has stayed away from active investigations since. Francis' other son, Francis Tierney Jr., is head of the precinct where the deceased cops hailed from and is looking for answers. The last piece to the familial puzzle is Sgt. Jimmy Eagan (Farrell), who is married to Ray and Francis' sister Megan (Bell), and was also supervisor to the four slain officers. As Ray delves deeper into the case, he realizes the evidence starts to point in an unthinkable direction. This raises questions that when answered could fracture the family and test their loyalty to one another as well as to the department.
I really enjoyed the first two acts of this movie and thought that it did a very nice job of portraying these characters as fallible, but essentially decent people (with a few exceptions) who got caught up in activities that spiraled out of control. It was also evident that it was trying to be as true as possible to the terminology, situations, and sense of loyalty felt by cops but especially those that work in the environment that those in NYC face on a regular basis. The screenplay followed a fairly logical (and perhaps formulaic) progression until the third act. Now I figured that there would have to be a Hollywood style finish but it just seemed to take people who had already displayed intelligence and judgment (both good and bad) and made them appear the opposite. The ending was inevitable but the means by how it arrived is what left me feeling a little empty. Don't get me wrong it didn't ruin the impact of the first two acts or the fine acting performances by the cast. I think that based upon that this film has merit and is well worth a look.
The rating is for strong violence, pervasive language, and brief drug content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Pride and glory comes to Blu-ray disc from New Line featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.6 mbps.
This being my first viewing experience of this film I can only guess that some of its visual aspects have been kept to the director's intention while others may be related to the encoding but it's hard to say. The first thing I noticed was that grain is used to give the video a noticeably gritty texture. This, in and of itself isn't a problem except that its application is inconsistent. This tends to be distracting as there are numerous instances where grain becomes heavier (particularly during the many dark scenes) and borders on appearing noisy. There is a scene late in the film where Francis confronts Jimmy in the men's room of a bar. There is very little light in the room and grain is fairly heavy. The dark wall in the background appears to be crawling and very much resembles mosquito type video noise. Blacks are inconsistent and can look very deep and dynamic in one segment or muddy and lacking depth in another. Shadow detail is strong throughout and offers good delineation in the dark environments and deep shadows when appropriate. The color palette isn't extensive but the cool overall tonal character is starkly contrasted by the occasional presence of warm reds and vibrant hues found in the interior dwellings featured in the story. Long range visuals appeared soft and lacking in resolute definition except for rare cases where it took on more of a clearer aspect with improved sharpness and depth of field. This appears to be innate to the photography rather than related to problems with the encoding but it is worth noting. Close ups and most mid level camera shots were well resolved with average fine rendering that made most small details appreciable. Bottom line is that this video presentation isn't the type that is going to exhibit the high level detail, vibrant textures and three dimensional quality that make it good for showing off your large high definition display. I didn't find it to be objectionable and I think that for the most part it conveys the film as it was intended.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well articulated dialogue. Sound effects had ample dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere from time to time. The mix excelled at creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field's acoustic environment. Low frequency detail was used to good effect to deliver deep impact when called for and to add solidity to the film's score. I thought it sounded great.
- Source of Pride: The making of Pride and Glory - 1 hour documentary that covers the entire production
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc - A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
Pride and glory is a good movie that could have been a better one. I was impressed with the performances by the cast and thought that the story was strong but lacked a finale that lived up to its first two thirds. Despite this I feel that the film has merit and entertainment value. Its video presentation won't impress viewers looking for eye popping high definition and bright colors. It does seem to maintain a visual perspective that conveys the look intended by Director Gavin O'Connor and the lossless surround mix is perfectly suited to the aspects of the story. The lone bonus feature is a good one that is definitely worth the time it took to view it. If you are a fan of crime/corruption/thrillers I would recommend this one as a solid rental.
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