Movie: Brooklyn’s Finest

This is a very interesting police story, set in Brooklyn,  New York. While much of this material has been seen before, it is particularly well done here, by new writer Michael C Martin, who spent some time observing police at work. The film was directed by Antoine Fuqua, whose earlier film,  Training Day also focusses on police life.

The structure of the film is to focus on three different policemen and their crises and gradually to bring them together at the finale - with some tragic results. The film opens with a confrontation between one of the police, played by Ethan Hawke, with a dealer and criminal and his killing him and taking his money to help his family.

The film focuses on the ordinary policeman, the possibilities of corruption and violence, yet his love for his family and his Catholic faith. Richard Gere portrays a burnt-out policeman, trying to be a man of integrity but finding it very difficult, especially with his fellow policemen. He is also involved with a friend who is a prostitute. Don Cheadle portrays an investigator, trying to come to terms with the whole range of policing in Brooklyn. He also has been working undercover, deep undercover, and this has an effect on him and his family. It also affects his relationship with the gangster to whom he had come close. He is played by Wesley Snipes. Ellen Barkin has a strong role as a tougher-than-tough district attorney and the supporting cast includes Will Patton as a policeman, Vincent D’Onofrio and Brian F. O’Byrne as gangsters.

The film explores the pressures on police life, on individuals, on the structures and the hierarchy, on the relentless pressures from the criminal world.

While the Richard Gere story is familiar, Gere, such a durable presence on screen, makes it convincing. Don Cheadle’s story is a desperate one, making one question why anybody would volunteer to work undercover. The Ethan Hawke story offers the pathos of an ordinary man, genuinely wanting to help his family but overwhelmed by pressures and financial difficulties.

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