Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cop Land

I remember when Cop Land was at the London Film Festival before its nationwide UK release. There was a lot of buzz about it, I guess because Sylvester Stallone was playing an overweight everyman type of sheriff, a bit like Bill Paxton had in the excellent One False Move. Here, though, the town under the sheriff's control is a New Jersey suburb entirely populated by policemen and their families, ostensibly all paid for by the Mob.

The film begins with a young hero white cop shooting dead two black youths who he thinks have shot at his tyres on the George Washington Bridge that runs from Manhattan to New Jersey. When the evidence seems to prove he made a terrible mistake, he jumps to a near-certain death in the river below. Or did he? Well, no, he didn't. And that's where the story gets going...

The film has a stellar cast, which is often a bad thing, but it works just fine here. As well as Stallone, there's De Niro, Ray Liotta, Harvey Keitel, Michael Rapaport, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Patrick... Stallone puts in a great performance, widely considered one of his best. De Niro is on form, as is Keitel. And Liotta shows that he's still got a bit of that magic, too, despite being in so many shit films.

This is a short film, but it remains punchy for that. The ending, while almost a tiny bit disappointing, is the only conceivable way the story could go. Thankfully, there's no cop-out in Cop Land.

The scores:
Acting: 17
Story: 14
Direction: 15
Enjoyment: 16
Cerebral pleasure: 16
Total: 78