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DVD Review HTF DVD REVIEW: Pride and Glory: 2-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition (1 Viewer)

Ken_McAlinden

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Pride and Glory: 2-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition Directed By: Gavin O'Connor Starring: Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich, Jennifer Ehle, John Ortiz, Frank Grillo, Shea Whigham, Lake Bell Studio: Warner Brothers Year: 2008 Rated: R Film Length: 130 minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish Release Date: January 27, 2009 The Film Pride and Glory is an action-drama about a family of New York City Police Officers. Edward Norton plays Ray Tierney, a bright and well-respected officer who has taken himself off of the streets after an unsettling experience years before which is revealed gradually as the film progresses. At the pleading of his father, Francis (Voight), he agrees to come back from his desk job to lead an investigation into the shooting of four officers by a drug dealer named Angel Tezo (Rodriguez). The officers were part of the 31st precinct for which Ray's brother, Francis, Jr. (Emmerich), is the commanding officer and in which their sister's husband, Jimmy Egan (Farrell) also serves. What Ray does not know is that Jimmy is the ringleader of a gang of crooked cops who were taking money from drug dealers, and that the shooting was a botched attempt to execute a rival drug dealer. As Ray and Jimmy race to track down Tezo they find themselves on a collision course that will test the bonds of family and professional fraternity. Pride and Glory takes the gritty NYC cop genre popularized by the likes of Sidney Lumet and, well, does not really add much to it. The elements are all pretty familiar, and anyone who has seen films involving big city institutional corruption and/or the fraternal code of silence amongst police officers will be on familiar ground. Familiarity is not necessarily a fatal flaw, as the elements of familial attachment, loyalty, and betrayal are the stuff of classical drama. Where Pride and Glory falls short is in its inability to present these elements with an interesting stylistic spin or to deliver a payoff that lives up to the promise of the operatic tragedy built up through the film's first two acts. It would be difficult to dissect exactly what is wrong with the film's final act without revealing spoilers, so I will not go there. I will let the ending itself spoil Pride and Glory the way the filmmakers intended. Prior to that, the film does do a pretty good job of turning the screws of suspense. Director Gavin O'Connor opts to let the viewer in on the real nature of what went down early in the proceedings. Knowing that Norton's character is unwittingly at cross-purposes with his brother-in-law informs otherwise innocuous character establishing scenes such as a family Christmas dinner with a subtextual dread. As familiar as most elements of the film felt, I have to admit that there was at least one scene where I saw something I have not seen before. It involves Farrell's dirty cop character threatening another character's family member in a severe way that pretty much erases any sympathy that audience member's may have developed for his predicament prior to that point. This is a specific example of a more general problem that robs the story of some of its potential as tragedy. The character of Jimmy is such an unrepentant scumbag, that he has no credible inner turmoil and exists as little more than a device to make his in-laws miserable. Farrell at times tries to suggest some minor regrets through his performance, but he is working against the script which will not allow his character to be interesting. The film is very well cast from top to bottom, with some very interesting supporting performances from lesser known actors. Norton, Farrell, Voight, and Emmerich prove to be excellent foils for each other, and Jennifer Ehle gives a particularly fine performance in the somewhat thankless role of Francis Jr.'s cancer stricken wife. The Video The widescreen transfer fills the entire 16:9 enhanced frame. The film is purposely shot to look steely, gritty, and grainy. Due to the frequent use of cool blue filtering and the way the exposure is pushed on many of the darkest scenes resulting in significant coarse film grain (Think James Cameron's Aliens), no video presentation of this film is ever likely to be considered "reference quality". With that in mind, the DVD presentation represents the film well, with minimal digital artifacts (usually a result of the heavy grain giving the compression algorithm fits), infrequent but noticeable low intensity ringing along high contrast edges, and a few minor bits of aliasing that will only be noticeable with critical viewing. The Audio The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a fine home representation of a very active theatrical surround mix. The 5.1 sound field is used to create an immersive three-dimensional environment, and is used most aggressively in scenes with complimentary visual styles including a lot of handheld work and whip-pans. Fidelity is good throughout. The Extras While containing no special features related to the film itself, when Disc One is first spun-up, the viewer is greeted with a series of skippable promos. All are presented in 4:3 video, letterboxed when appropriate, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound unless indicated otherwise below:
  • Anti-piracy PSA with scenes from Casablanca(1:00)
  • Warner Blu-Ray Promo (Dolby Digital 5.1 sound - 1:09)
  • Video Game Trailer for Project Origin (2:11)
  • DVD/BD Trailer for RocknRolla (:31)
  • Theatrical Trailer for Watchmen (2:21)
  • Anti-Smoking PSA comparing smokers to lab rats (:34)
The only proper extra appears on the second disc, but it is a very good one. Source of Pride: The Making of Pride and Glory is a 67 minute documentary directed by Stephen Earnhart which is presented in 16:9 enhanced video with English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and available English SDH subtitles. It is an honest to goodness documentary that looks at the film's pre-production and production period starting seven weeks before the commencement of principal photography and continuing through the last day of shooting. The filmmakers had extensive access to the whole process and clearly no mandate to make it a promotional puff piece. Fly on the wall behind the scenes and on-set footage is combined with interviews with numerous participants in the film's production including video blog type entries from Writer/Director Gavin O'Connor. As one would expect, the documentary has lots of information about the preparation that went into the film, the filmmakers' affinity for the material, and their desire for authenticity. As one might not expect, it does not shy away from touchy subjects such as the increasing stress and anxiety faced by O'Connor throughout the production, inclusive of the last minute drop out of actor Nick Nolte due to injury, the creative conflicts between O'Connor and Norton, the commencement of production without a locked script, and numerous other issues. A tremendous number of personalities involved with the film in front of and behind the camera appear in the documentary ranging from O'Connor and Norton to the film's cockroach wrangler, but conspicuous by his absence is Colin Farrell. He obviously did not consent to appear in the documentary, but he is mentioned in an amusing way when one of the technical advisors is riding through a New York neighborhood asking O'Connor who will be in the film and he gets Colin Farrell confused with Will Ferrell. Aside from the absence of Farrell, the only topic I regretted the documentary neglected to cover is the film's long pre-production history. Apparently, it was all set to go into production with a completely different cast until the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred and the producers wisely decided that it was not the time to make a film about New York City Police corruption. Disc Two also contains a digital copy of the film that is both Apple and Microsoft friendly that can be unlocked with a code provided on a DVD case insert when the disc is inserted into a DVD-ROM drive. Packaging The film is packaged in an Amaray-style case with a hinged tray allowing it to accommodate the 2nd disc with the documentary and the digital copy. The hard case is enclosed in a cardboard slipcover with identical artwork except for a banner proclaiming it as a two-disc digital copy special edition. The only insert is the sheet with the code to unlock the digital copy. Summary Pride and Glory is a suspenseful, but a bit too familiar story of dirty New York cops with a strong cast and a disappointing ending. It is presented on DVD with a video transfer that accurately captures the gritty and grainy texture of the film's stylized cinematography with an enjoyably immersive Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound mix. Extras consist of a digital copy of the film that is Apple and Microsoft friendly and an engrossing behind the scenes documentary that will help viewers to understand how much effort goes into the making of a film whether they like the final result or not. I would strongly recommend that viewers interested in this film on DVD go for the two-disc edition in order to see the outstanding documentary that in some ways I enjoyed more than the film itself. Regards,
 

Dave Scarpa

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David Scarpa
Yes I watched this last night and I wish I had read your review first as the cancer angle is way too close to home right now and I probably would've passed on watching this right now, I agree on the scene you mentioned, he is such a dirtbag in that scene, that it robs from the later scene at the end of the movie, where he seems to be triying to be valiant, I think I was cheering on the Crowd. The Actors all did well, but it did remind me alot of We Belong to the Night.
 

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