By Edward Brooks – Cougar News Staff Writer
Brooklyn’s Finest is a gritty cop drama that follows the lives of three police officers on different pathways, whose stories intertwine over the course of a week in Brooklyn, New York.
Richard Gere plays Eddie, a cop with more than 20 years of service on the force. He has just a week left on the job before he can retire and collect his pension. For Eddie, the week could not pass by any quicker as the fundamental responsibilities of being a cop and looking out for others (including his fellow officers) has left him paranoid, distant, and even at times suicidal. He thinks that he can find happiness and stableness in his life if he can get through his last week without a hassle of any kind.
Then there’s Sal (portrayed by Ethan Hawke), a narc who loves nothing more on earth than his wife and kids. The problem is that Sal’s house is too small for his family to live in, and the house is plagued with wood mold which gives his wife serious asthma bouts; all while she’s expecting to give birth to twins. Sal has found the perfect, spacious house for his ever-growing family but needs to come up with a lot of money for the down payment in order to secure the house and move. As a narc, Sal sees dirty money around all the time during drug busts and may stoop to anything in order to make sure his family gets their dream home.
Finally there’s Tango, an undercover cop played by Don Cheadle. Tango has been undercover so long, the drug dealers that surround him have become more like friends and allies instead of crooks he wants to arrest. One of those “friends” is Caz (Wesley Snipes), a drug kingpin who just got released from prison. When the force wants Tango to set up Caz with a drug sting that would put him back behind bars, Tango has difficulty deciding who and where his loyalties truly belong to; the streets or his badge.
Brooklyn’s Finest is a solid movie, with good performances by all involved. I had some problems though with the movie’s storytelling. I think that the three cop stories portrayed here would have worked better if they were three separate movies or one big story that involved all of the main characters. Instead these characters, who have had very little or no interaction throughout the movie, all conveniently meet up at the same place for each story’s climax at the end. The ending for each of the characters is a little too predictable for my taste as well.
Besides the ending though, I did enjoy Brooklyn’s Finest. The movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also directed Training Day. Fuqua seems to love to explore the lives of dirty cops in tough, crime riddled areas of L.A. and New York; and can at times do so in a very realistic and plausible way. The problem with Brooklyn’s Finest is that instead of trying to tell one big complex story with well rounded characters, we get three stories in a movie that tries too hard to intertwine everything at the end.