Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: Cop Land (1997)

Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) is the sheriff of Garrison, New Jersey; peaceful and quiet, suburban community that is located directly across the river from Manhattan. Garrison is populated by an unusually large number of New York City policemen; and after a controversial incident involving a hero cop, Sherriff Heflin slowly discovered that his town is a front for organised crime and police corruption.

Cop Land is an excellent, gritty police drama that’s very much underrated. The plot is slow paced but it’s never for a minute boring. It’s an intriguing story about that fine line between right and wrong and justifying the choices we make in life. There is also a strong “us vs. them” mentality within the police force that the film conveys very well. You could call the film an urban western.

The cast is excellent and extremely strong, with Stallone giving one of the best performances of his career. His character is that of a man who is sympathetic, quiet and soft spoken, torn between doing the right thing and protecting his cop buddies that he has always admired. Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick and Harvey Keitel are all great in their supporting roles. There is a brief exchange between DeNiro and Keitel’s character that I really love; on the surface they appear civil and friendly towards each other but beneath there is a tremendous amount of animosity, especially from Keitel’s characters; it’s just written all over his face. It’s a terrific scene between two great actors with little dialogue yet it speaks volumes about these two individuals. 

I really wish this film could have been longer; it needed to be longer, as the story is quite complex and some of the many fascinating characters could have been more developed. They’re the type you just want to know more and more about. But apart from that it’s a great film.

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