"Come on: It can't be that bad?!" I often mumble this question/plea after sampling a brace of bad reviews for a particularly denigrated film. (I now read only the first and last paragraphs of almost all reviews because I've found their mid-sections to be generally bloated with plot points and spoilage.) Two such "Can't be that bads" opened in theaters last fall and promptly disappeared -- until, that is, their recent release to DVD.
Sad to say, Gavin O'Connor's PRIDE AND GLORY, despite a stary cast that acquits itself well under the circumstances, deserved its fate. For a film that claims in its closing credits to honor the courage of New York City police officers, it's a movie about this city's police force with barely a decent officer in sight -- they're all just shades of dark gray and black. As a longtime non-fan of police (I consider them a necessary evil, which like capitalism, must be watched over very closely at all times), I still found this film ridiculous -- filled with appalling coincidences that riddle more holes in the plot that do the police to their many victims.
I generally applaud a film that tries to force its audience to come to terms with the meaning of corruption, and how difficult it is for anyone in power, once started down a corrupt path, to right himself. But this movie keep raising the question only to consistently cop out (no pun intended). The best example comes with a finale (and I am giving nothing away here) that has the chance to let us hear a character or two wrestle verbally with an explanation for how this corruption took root and strangled everything it touched. Instead, the film is happy to simply show us another clichéd scene (as shown below), accompanied by clichéd music, of its characters walking ever so slowly across streets, up stairs and into one of those "power" buildings, as though justice, art or anything else worthwhile were being served here.