Mr. Movie

'Brooklyn's Finest' features good efforts

Brooklyn is crawling with crooked and unhappy cops.

All are in a pressure cooker. One is desperate to get his sickly and pregnant wife out of a mold infested home. He murders drug dealers and steals their money. Another is lifeless and devoid of emotion and just days from retirement. The third is imbedded deep in an inner city gang and wants out.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

First-time feature writer Michael C. Martin creates characters who don’t know each other but whose lives are moving rapidly toward a climactic crisscross. The usual suspects haunt the usual haunts. Characters work in run down police stations, meetings are held in stripper bars, ghetto dwellings are packed with garbage. In other words, nothing you haven’t seen before. It just isn’t usually done this well.

Though there are few surprises and you know where the plot is headed, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) sets his film apart with claustrophobic camera work and shots that make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a private matters.

A trio of superb veteran actors Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere and Don Cheadle anchor the film, and they get outstanding support from Wesley Snipes, Will Patton and Ellen Barkin.

Brooklyn’s finest aren’t. Compared to films of the genre, Brooklyn’s Finest isn’t either. It is, however, one hell of a good try.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated R for violence, nudity, language, mature themes. It opens Friday, March 5 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 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.