Mr. Movie

'Pride and Glory:' Lots of pride, not much glory

Several cops are murdered in what appears to be a drug raid.

Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich play a family of policemen involved with the squad.

Norton investigates; Voight instigates, Emmerich leads, and Farrell is corrupt.

Its single-dimension characters wade through a long and convoluted plot.

Attempts to misdirect muddy it even further. An out-of-nowhere, oh-come-on-now ending finishes the film with a non-flourish.

Norton and Voight are victims of cliche characters and basically sleepwalk through the movie. Emmerich is an excellent character actor who gets to stretch, and Farrell finally gets to show off some of the talent that first got him noticed eight years ago. At times, he is very scary and has the film’s best -- and unfortunately -- worst scenes.

You also have to give kudos to Gavin O’Connor who co-conceived and co-authored Pride and Glory.

Outside of a nice little art flick in 1999 called Tumbleweeds and a directing turn for the excellent sports flick Miracle, O’Connor’s experience is mostly in TV.

The landscape of Pride and Glory, is dotted with recognizable scenery: trashy alleys, grimy buildings, rundown tenements and sleazy characters. You’ve seen dozens of better thrillers with dirty cops on the take who kill, maim, rob and terrorize for bundles of cash or drugs.

Considering his concept is rather lame, O’Connor manages to hold your interest. There are raw, naked spots that will have you gripping your seat and biting your lip. You may even have to remind yourself to breathe.

And a low-level intensity bounces beneath the surface making it an uneasy view.

Credit for that probably has to go to the skills of co-writer Joe Carnahan. His films Smokin’ Aces and Narc are a study in the art of how to build nail-chewing tension into an ordinary plot. That alone make Pride and Glory worth the price of the ticket.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated R for violence, language, brief nudity, mature themes. It opens Friday at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.