Someone's Going to Cop It
Well that was strange, I read a synopsis for "Brooklyn's Finest" and thought I knew exactly what I was going to watch. Here we have a movie with 3 threads, 3 cops; the undercover cop who's been under so long could switch sides, the drugs cop who is in desperate need of money for his family that he is willing to break the law and the beat cop who is 7 days from retirement. It screams out that at some point, let's be honest at the end, the stories revolving around these 3 cops will overlap in a dramatic, explosive finale and they sort of do. But then strangely "Brooklyn's Finest" is not really about how these 3 cops ends up being at the same place at the same time but their individual stories and it makes it a movie different to what you expect.
Eddie (Richard Gere - Nights in Rodanthe) has been on the beat for 22 years and he has just 7 days till he is out. Tango (Don Cheadle - Ocean's Thirteen) has been undercover for a few years and is desperate to get his life back to normal and get the promotion to a safe desk job he believes he deserves. And Sal (Ethan Hawke - Lord of War) is part of the drugs team desperate for money due to his increasing family living in a small unhealthy house, so desperate he is willing to kill to lay hands on quick cash.
So as already mentioned there is the predictable side to "Brooklyn's Finest" that being that you know that these 3 separate cops will end up at the same place and time for an explosive finale. And as such this explosive finale has an element of a ripple effect that something which happens to one cop has a knock on effect to another. I won't go into details other than to say the ending does throw up a couple of surprises, especially when you consider that in truth we have 3 good cops pushed to the limit to do something by their circumstances.
As to the circumstances well there is Sal who is part of a drugs bust team and who lives in a shitty little home with his pregnant wife and their many children, with twins on the way. The house is making his wife ill, her asthma is bad and it's putting her life and the twins' lives at risk leading Sal to need money quickly in order to get them out of the mouldy house and into somewhere better. And so we watch as Sal turns dirty, trying to steal drugs money during busts not out of greed but out of a necessity, it his rationalisation that he is taking dirty money and putting it to good use. But we see the pressure building up on him especially as time is running out and attempts to take money fail.
Then we have Tango an under cover cop working with a drug dealing gang headed by notorious criminal Caz. He's been undercover so long he is on the verge of turning and desperate to get out with a promotion he deserves. He also feels loyal to Caz because ironically Caz saved his life and so with the FBI wanting to get Caz they are putting pressure on him to set him up. And we can see the pressure getting to him as he has to deal with not only trouble between the drug dealers but also cops who hassle them.
And then we have Eddie, a beat cop for 22 years and just 7 days to retirement. He keeps his head down and is trying to just bide his time till he's out even if younger cops think he is a disgrace because he doesn't act with the same enthusiasm to law enforcement they do. But ironically as time passes something in Eddie almost snaps, he puts aside his cautious ways to actually do something as he tries to track down who ever it is kidnapping young women.
As such it is a case that "Brooklyn's Finest" is all about these 3 cops and their situations and the pressure they find themselves under rather than some clever storyline which brings them together. In fact the way they end up at the same place at the same time is really a convenient coincidence rather than what the story is focussed on building to.
With this being 3 cops, 3 stories we have 3 actors Richard Gere as Eddie, Don Cheadle as Tango and Ethan Hawke as Sal and each give solid performances in very different characters. Hawke has that air of financial desperation about him pushed to making rash decision as the options run out whilst Cheadle has that anger which has formed against his superiors after years of being undercover, furious that his real life has been ruined. And then we have Gere which in contrast seems to deliver an inferior performance but then take into account his character is not in such dramatic situations as the other two and Gere's time weary beat cop is good.
What this all boils down to is that "Brooklyn's Finest" is an entertaining cop drama which whilst eventually playing out in quite a predictable same place and time kind of way is different because the focus is on the pressures and situations of the 3 characters and that is what makes it worth a watch.