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Review: Crooklyn (Brooklyn's Finest)

I'm a sucker for movies about crime. It might be because of the moral complexities that crime films seem to be steeped in, like The Godfather, Goodfellas, Se7en, Touch of Evil and Reservoir Dogs, or could it be because man's baser instincts need to be indulged occasionally.

Who knows? All I know is that when 90% of the country was watching Alice in Wonderland when I took this film in instead.

Brooklyn's Finest starts off with a slow draw into a car where Sal (Ethan Hawke) and Carlo (Vincent D'Onofrio) are discussing Carlo's latest trial. Not long after Carlo is finished discussing the judge's verdict Sal shoots him in the face, and takes off with a bag full of cash.

Tango (Don Cheadle) is an undercover looking for that last bust at a promotion, problem is that he has to bust Casablanca (Wesley Snipes) the man who saved Tango's life in prison. Eddie Dougan (Richard Gere) however is just a week away from retirement and truly does not give a good goddamn about any of it. He wants his pension and he'll gladly look bad taking it.

All of these men are integral parts of the story not one of them is bigger or more important than the next. Sal is a NARC with two kids on the way to add with the three he already has, an asthmatic wife, in a house that has wood mold. If he wants to get out it won't be because of a payroll increase, but that drug money lying out in the open will do fine. It's interesting that Ethan Hawke's career didn't take off in a bigger fashion, but it probably stems from his subtle nature. He is not a stick of dynamite, but a fuse slowly burning.

Tango's marriage is virtually done and he is starting to forget what team he's playing for. When pulled over on the New Jersey turnpike he thinks, "why not let my boys blow this guy away". And Eddie is assigned a new partner as an initiative by the Mayor to train new cops. It's not long before these men's lives explode into conflict.

The film's flaws come from a lack of originality and a few scenes of clunky dialogue, but the trio of Gere/Hawke and Cheadle all make up for that and more. This is not Training Day, yet it still punches you in the gut and makes you look the film right in the eye.

It is clear from the film that we are implicated in the actions of these officers. Several of the scenes of towards the end Hawke, Cheadle and Gere directly acknowledge the camera. We put them out on the streets, we put them in harms way, and we look the other way when the shit falls on their heads.

***/****

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