June 18, 2003

Hark, Hark I Hear a Narc

Dirty clean cops, strung-out straight cops, cop killers and killer cops all seem oddly at home in Joe Carnahan's explosive debut film, Narc. Jason Patric, with scruffy hair and an ever-present knit cap, plays Det. Nick Tellis, an undercover narcotics officer with the Detroit PD who is assigned to a cop killing after screwing up a drug bust while high on assignment. 1011_04.jpg
Patric is investigating the murder of Mike Calvess, also a narc, and is partnered with the dead man's partner, Henry Oak, played by Ray Liotta (or Liotta plus a little extra: the actor reportedly put on at least 25 pounds for the part of a beefy detective and it shows!). Without giving away the ending, PCC will only say that each of the twists and turns are believable, lulling the viewer into feeling superior for piecing together the puzzle until...wham! new evidence is discovered and you're back on the edge of your seat, scrambling to keep up.

Carnahan, who is helming the third Mission: Impossible installment as well as a film about the life and crimes of Pablo Escobar, has a surprising ability to balance quiet moments, such as Patric's interactions with his infant son, and in-your-face police violence with amazing ease. The editing, reminiscent of the quick cuts used in the crime flashbacks in Se7en, is extrememly fast, yet somehow avoids coming off as the cliched spawn of an MTV music video. The mini-flashbacks aren't showy: they're effective and keep your eyes glued to the screen.

Overall, PCC was thoroughly impressed with Carnahan's directing, as well as the acting. Always a fan of Mr. Liotta, regardless of size, PCC thought his portrayal of a cop on the edge was excellent, even though PCC would run like hell if she encountered said cop in a dark alley. Mr. Patric (yes, the one who ran off with Julia after she dumped poor Keifer at the altar) was also an excellent choice for Tellis, a good cop who couldn't always keep it together, yet could never really admit he'd lost it.

Posted by jordan at June 18, 2003 3:58 AM