Thursday, May 22, 2014

Film Review: Narc (2002)

Narc (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...nerve-shredding and unforgettable..."

Months after an incident causes the death of a drug dealer and a miscarriage of an innocent bystander, undercover officer Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) is reinstated and works with hard-boiled detective Henry Oak (Ray Liotta) to find the killer of another undercover officer...

Narc follows Nick and Henry as they delve deep into the criminal underworld to find a cop killer. With the case running out of fumes and leads running thin, Nick and Henry partake in some unethical methods of extracting information. We also get a glimpse of the affects of this type of work on a family man like Nick, and the demons that haunt him. Meanwhile, Henry shows some shady and brutal characteristics -- as well as the affects of his work on his personal life. Narc moves ferociously to a tense, unforgettable climax -- it's arguable to say it's an open-ended and conversational ending.

Narc is a by-the-books yet very effective crime thriller. The troubled cop meets hard-boiled bad ass is something we've seen before, but it works out very well. The story kept me hook from beginning to end, and delivers a surprising ending; you may expect some aspects of the finale, but I think it'll still manage to deliver some surprises. However, the ending did leave some loose ends; as cliché as it already is, I felt the "nagging wife" subplot for Nick was effective in building character but wasn't fully fleshed out. Regardless, Narc is successful in immersion, in creating suspense, in creating pure tension, and building up to a very satisfying climax.

I like Jason Patric in his role; he really builds his character well with facial expressions and dialogue, really developing a troubled person. Ray Liotta steals the show with a strong yet believable performance; he speaks with great confidence and conviction. The film is technically well made, from the soundtrack to the cinematography. The introduction features a chase scene where I though the camerawork was way over the top, but it is only during the intro. Written and directed by Joe Carnahan, Carnahan delivers a suspenseful and immersive tale that delves deep into the world of undercover police work, and the unethical actions of some officers.

Overall, Narc is a fantastic crime thriller. I was hooked from beginning to end, I didn't check the timer once as I was completely immersed. And, the climax was nerve-shredding and unforgettable, and grounded in reality. A film with very few flaws, Narc comes highly recommended.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, and some brief nudity.

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