I knew this whole movie was in big trouble from the opening scene where Det. Sgt. Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) of the Detroit police is chasing some drug addict through a neighborhood. Director Joe Carnahan chooses that ever-chic camera technique of "I'm going to run along bouncing the camera off my shoulder and make it look just like reality." Okay, that's great. Why can't I see a damn thing? When you're running after a drug dealer, your head does not bob all over the damn place like that. There is no instance in life when your vision is so totally screwed up. The world only shakes like that during an earthquake or when you're looking through a camera while running after a drug addict. Let's be very clear: THIS IS THE STUPIDEST TECHNIQUE IN CINEMA HISTORY. Would-be filmmakers: Please stop.
See, this whole bobbing camera thing goes to Carnahan's head because he thinks that by shaking the camera and cutting quickly, that will add to the drama. Well, it doesn't. When Tellis opens a file on a woman who's linked to his new partner, Det. Lt. Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), we don't have the slightest clue what's on the paper because Carnahan is moving the camera all over the place.
Oak and Tellis are investigating the murder of Oak's former partner, who was killed working narcotics and basically had the same job as Tellis. They worked the street and in order to be believable street urchins, they did the drugs. In this case, it seems, Oak's old partner might have been a junkie, but Oak doesn't care and he's out to see the murderers pay, no matter what.
This film is rather seedy. Both Oak and Tellis aren't very clean. But you know what? I just got done watching the entire first season of "The Shield." I'm pretty much up to my ears in seedy cops and seedy cop business. If I hadn't already seen that show, I might have thought this film was something of interest. Unfortunately, it's just "The Shield" with the f-word thrown in a lot.
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