A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated R for strong brutal violence, drug content and pervasive language.
Starring: Jason Patric, Ray Liotta and Busta Rhymes
Directed By:Joe Carnahan
Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) is a strung out former undercover narcotics cop who left the force over a year ago, due to an accident while on duty. Nick now lives a quiet life with his new wife, and his 10-month-old son, still haunted by his past. But when the force can’t come up with any leads to finding the truth behind another cop’s death, they call upon Nick to try and help them figure out the case. He is paired with Lt. Henry Oaks (Ray Liotta), a rebellious cop who will do anything and everything to bring the killers to justice. As the investigation deepens, so does the involvement of the two men, which causes Nick’s marriage to fall apart, and Henry’s true past to come out. In the end it is a battle of wits and a battle of finding the real truth behind the cop’s death that will keep Nick alive in the streets.
This film surprised me all the way to the end. At no point did I lose interest. In fact every time I thought I had if figured out, I learned something new, that kept me guessing and my eyes glued to the screen. The script was beautifully constructed and used the actors to their full potential. Both Jason Patric and Ray Liotta, two men who seem to have fallen off the face of the earth as of late, give off a shocking performance, as they are both top notch in this flick.
Liotta is wonderful as Henry Oaks, the rebellious cop who has a past. His violent tendencies and rogue behavior are both visually and mentally provided through his character. Liotta brings his character to life by convincing you with his performance. For a man who has seen little of the lights of Hollywood as of late, Liotta has not lost his touch. It’s obvious that he has aged, and sporting a few more wrinkles and a lot more weight than he did in the old days, but he definitely has not lost his acting talent. I’d have to say I haven’t seen him in a role this good since Goodfellas.
Jason Patric, another one of those actors who nearly disappeared from the Hollywood scene, proved that he too deserved to be recognized as he stepped up to the plate as our stories main character. Patric however gave me too much of a “Ethan Hawke in Training Day” vibe more than anything else. Now don’t get me wrong, Narc is far from a rip off of Training Day and Patric’s character is not a recycled Ethan Hawke character. It just felt as though Patric’s acting displayed his characters in very Hawke Like antics (if that makes sense). In other words, plain and simple it lacked originality and new depth. But never mind that, the performance he did provide made it all worth your time.
One of the most brilliant things about Narc is that it’s true redeeming factors do not lie in the acting alone, but through wonderful camera work. Through a series of different camera angles, and different styles of camera work, it brings the character and the story to life. All that tied in with wonderful transitions between point to point (which is partially due to such a strong story) make Narc a great film cinematically as well as just being a highly entertaining flick.
In the end you have to give a lot of the credit to the director of Narc, Joe Carnahan. Carnahan is fairly new to the Hollywood scene as a director, coming into Narc with only one previous work, a lower budget flick called Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane. Narc also proved to be a fairly low budget film in a way as well costing only 7.5 million to shoot. All in all well a 7.5 Million well spent and I look forward to seeing more of Carnahan in the future.
In the end, I don’t really have to many complaints about this film. The only one is that you see this type of crime drama on primetime television, since drama such as this seems to be the thing of the times. The difference though between those shows and Narc is that this one is more beautifully constructed, and just has an overall better feel about it. What you don’t believe me? Go hop in the lines and check it out. You won’t be sorry you did.