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Brooklyn's Finest


Stars: Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes, Will Patton, Lili Taylor, Ellen Barkin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Brian F O'Byrne, Raquel Castro

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Another of those long, gloomy, sleaze-filled portraits of New York's underbelly, replete with the drugs, violence and nudity of gangstaland, and completely standard for the genre.

The story, if you can follow it, chronicles the (mis)fortunes of three cops, the director cutting arbitrarily from one thread to another. Eddie (Gere) is a veteran cop with seven days left to retirement. He tries to stay away from trouble, but gets into more because of it. Tango (Cheadle) is an undercover cop who has grown too close to the crime kingpin (Snipes) on whom he's supposed to be getting the goods. His superiors (Patton, Barkin) leave him in no doubt as to where they expect him to stand.

Sal (Hawke) is desperate for the money to complete the purchase of a new house, He already has several children - one of several things the script isn't clear on is how many - and his heavily-pregnant wife (Taylor), expecting twins, is suffering from acute asthma as a result of the wood mould that permeates their home.

Naturally the destinies of these three guys collide before the end.

The action is as down 'n' dirty as you'd anticipate but the script lacks cohesion, let alone coherence. A scene at the start where Hawke shoots another man (an almost unrecognisable D'Onofrio) seems to have no relevance to the plot and is never explained.

It's nice to see Patton and Barkin again after a bit of a break, but they, along with Hawke and Taylor, two actors who never seem to smile, are saddled with familiar characters. Lovers of the gritty US urban drama will find what they expect in this truly average piece that never approaches the pull of such TV series as The Shield and The Wire.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Momentum. Technicolor.
133 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 06 Jun 2010