The problem with Pride and Glory isn’t that it’s bad, it’s just nothing new or exceptional. If you’re going to do something that we’ve seen before, find a new edge, a new perspective, and new way to shoot it. Something. Gavin O’Connor just brings us another complex cop film that tries to use plot twists and violence to cover up for it’s otherwise dull story. Don’t get me wrong. I think the acting in the film was anything but dull. All of the actors turned in amazing performances. Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, and Jon Voight bring a brooding intensity to the film, that may make the film what it is. Without this cast, I probably would have been slurping down a large drink just for an excuse to go to the bathroom.
My problems were two fold. One, the added too much. From too many unexplained sub-plots, to the overuse of loud gunshots that left me exhausted with my ears ringing, to scenes that made no sense to the rest of the film. Everything was so convoluted it almost felt like a comedy of error’s without the comedy. At one point a “bad guy” comes into Farrel’s yard to threaten him. Who is this guy? I don’t know. Does he ever come back to explain himself? Nope. It felt as if they meant to cut out that scene but forgot. You can’t just say, “let’s have this scene because we like it and it shows he has emotions” it has to move us somewhere. Otherwise the audience feels like they’re in a rut. Every scene needs to have a reason, and although it KIND OF does, kind of isn’t enough for a police-thriller.
My second problem is that there was no real villain. I think Farrell actually turned out one of his best performances to date, but his character wasn’t clear enough for you to feel anything for him. It’s one thing if you build someone up to be a villain and than find the good in him. But in this film, the “villain,” is filled with goodness and explanations from the very beginning, so you never really side against him. It needed that conflict that makes you sit their squirming in your seat wondering if he’ll do the right thing and then walk away from the theater knowing that he did bad things for the right reasons. Not here. I’m not saying we need a Joker type villain, but we do need to see some conflict. Otherwise we’re left with the empty shell of one mis-used plot device after another.
If you want a cop movie. It’s decent enough, it’s just not mind blowing. I do like what they did with the ending. In fact, in some ways I feel like they built the entire movie around the ending, instead of building the entire movie up the the ending.