Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Written by David Ayer
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn
Officer Jake Hoyt’s (Hawke) first day as a narcotics officer turns into something unexpected when he’s paired with Detective Alonso Harris (Washington). Hoyt’s commitment to his career is tested as discovers that Harris plays by his own set of rules.
This film was partially inspired by the Rampart Scandal that rocked the LAPD in the late 1990’s. David Ayer (Fury) wrote the script, and Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer) directed the film. Denzel Washington (Fences), Ethan Hawke (Gattaca), and Scott Glenn (Backdraft) star in this one alongside a number of talented actors.
David Ayer did an excellent job bringing the streets and (some of) the people of Los Angeles to life. This one is truly a Los Angeles story, highlighting the economic and cultural diversity of the setting. The story uses the same contrast in how the two main characters are portrayed. The writing takes two incredibly different people, and puts them into a tense situation. The friction is intense, and creates some of the best exchanges of dialogue in the movie. They have a handful of common traits that keep the relationship both interesting and believable. There are a number of supporting roles that enrich the world of the film. Their dialogue and the settings they’re found in both feel authentic. Overall, this one cuts the fat and gets to the point at all times. The action is good, and the payoffs are worth the wait.
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke were excellently paired in this one. Washington brings a huge amount of intensity and energy to the movie. Hawke brings a thoughtful and somewhat hesitant performance. Together, these two seem to feed off of one another. The friction between them feels real throughout the movie. Both of these actors received praise for their work. Ethan Hawke was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, while Denzel Washington won the Oscar for Best Actor. The cast really does great work throughout this movie. Scott Glenn gives the third best performance in this one. His work really adds to some of the pivotal moments of the story. The rest of the cast all do solid work that brings the script to life.
This one benefits from a level of authenticity not often found in movies like this. The production filmed in places like the Imperial Courts housing project of Los Angeles. Before starting, the production team obtained permission from the gangs to bring film crews in. The movie uses a number of additional locations throughout Los Angeles, creating an incredible backdrop for the story. This one looks good, and has a solid score from Mark Mancina (Return to Paradise). The film also has a soundtrack that features a number of popular songs.
This is a great example of how to make a cop drama right. The story is unpredictable, and the payoffs come with a punch. Like the story, this one doesn’t look away. If you’re looking for an intense and gritty movie experience, this is one for you. I would also suggest this one to fans of the stars. I give this one 4.7 out of 5 stars.