14 March 2010 | tha_mongoose
Very well-rounded cop thriller
Brooklyn's Finest rests on the strong character portrayals of the lives of three ordinary men struggling at different points in their careers. What they each share is the New York Police Department as a workplace.
Life isn't perfect - it never is. We always have to give something up in order to do something else - it's called choice. Therein lies man's fatal freedom.
Sal (Ethan Hawke) gave up the possibility for flash when he became a cop. He has a growing family with numerous kids but lives in a decrepit, run-down house where the wood mold is causing his pregnant wife lung problems. His NYPD salary isn't sufficient for him to move to a different abode.
Can we judge him? It is a context that bears for some humanity from our part. He will do things in the film, but it is difficult for us to point our fingers from a high horse, for we aren't in his situation. Does the end justify the means?
While doing undercover work in prison, Tango (Don Cheadle) is saved from death by an inmate, Casanova Philips (Wesley Snipes). The event forms a bond between them. Now Casanova is back out and the force want Tango to send him back in.
By taking this shortcut to Detective first grade (read: becoming an undercover agent), Tango is forced to deal with harsh consequences, namely the fact that his wife is in the process of leaving him, and that other than Casanova he has no friends.
Eddie (Richard Gere) is retiring and is a morally decadent seemingly useless member of the force. He gets teased by his younger co-worker cops, and seems fed up with his life. We see him put a revolver to his mouth in the morning.
Even though he is 7 days away from retirement he must take care of young rookies, fresh faces new to the NYPD. Eddie doesn't get along well with them.
It is unclear what happened to his wife, but Eddie now seeks solace in the womanly comforts of a lowly Chinatown hooker.
These grotesquely authentic lives are laid out with the aid of a soundtrack that simultaneously sets the pace and follows the psychological states of the main protagonists. The tone of the music will change, for instance, when a particular character is in a tight situation, a situation where he is again confronted with choice.
All the actors in this film pull off magnificently intense portrayals. Especially worthy of mention are Cheadle, Snipes, Gere and Hawke -- who once again shows that he can enter the mind of a struggling cop like no other.
A steady-paced, involving thriller definitely worth a gander. 8/10.