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Narc

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Narc

Starring: Jason Patric, Ray Liotta
Director: Joe Carnahan
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: January 2003
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense


*Also starring: Busta Rhymes, Chi McBride, Richard Chevolleau, Anne Openshaw, John Ortiz



Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Reminiscent of the cop thrillers of the 1970s, this suspense story, set in Detroit, stars Roy Liotta as Lt. Henry Oak, a beefy, heavy-handed rogue cop who teams with Det. Nick Tellis, a brooding undercover narcotics officer, played by Jason Patric, to solve the murder of his former colleague, Michael Calvess (Alan Van Sprang). Each man carries his own psychological burden. Oak's wife has died and Tellis, a troubled former addict, was suspended for accidentally shooting a pregnant woman when a police chase went wrong. As their obsessive search for the cop killer evolves, they zero in on two primary suspects (Busta Rhymes, Richard Chevolleau) whose interrogation opens a scandalous can of worms. Like: how and why did the Oak's partner die?

"We don't make movies like 'The French Connection' anymore," says writer/director Joe Carnahan ("Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane"), who was inspired by "The Thin Blue Line" and obviously aimed to evoke the unconventional, naturalistic spirit of Sidney Lumet, John Cassavetes and William Friedkin. "That style of filmmaking was more about character than explosions." To that end, Carnahan, aided by cinematographer Alex Nepomniaschy, relies more on the propulsive tension of macho mayhem and carnage, indicated by quick cuts, split-screen, frenetic handheld shots and emotional eruptions, than a linear story line. The acting is quite admirable since both actors have done these cop roles before, and it's good to see Chi McBride (TV's "Boston Public") on the big-screen as a conflicted police captain. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Narc" is an intense, gory, gritty 7. Curiously, this visceral, violent cop psychodrama has been on the shelf for a full year because of the effect on the film industry of the aftermath of 9/11.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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