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Philip V. Caruso/Brooklyn’s Finest Productions, Inc.

Competing loyalties

Movies | Violent police drama sets cops against each other, themselves

Issue: "Fighting poverty," March 13, 2010

It's easy to tell right from wrong from the cushions of an easy chair. Out on the front lines of the war between criminals and police, the lines get muddled. At least, that's the premise of the brutal and sexually explicit police drama Brooklyn's Finest. The film starts with a monologue about right and wrong from a drug dealer and ends with three police officers forced to choose between competing loyalties.

Sal (Ethan Hawke) is a blue-collar Roman Catholic. Although he puts his life on the line in the SWAT team every day, he can't afford a proper home for his ever-growing family. He eyes the mounds of drug-lord cash his team confiscates on every raid. Tango (Don Cheadle) has been working undercover for years, infiltrating a crime ring, even spending time in prison. As his "real" life crumbles, he finds himself identifying with and caring about his mark, crime boss Caz (Wesley Snipes), more than his police brethren.

While Sal and Tango put themselves in harm's way daily, Eddie (Richard Gere) gave up on his job long ago. He's counting the days until retirement and keeping his head down, even when there are citizens who need his protection. All three must ultimately decide which side they're on. The consequences are deadly.

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From the director of Training Day (Antoine Fuqua), this film earns every inch of its R rating, with brutal violence, explicit sex scenes, and constant obscene language. However, it also has a moving and deeply theological scene as Sal speaks to his priest about the nature of man's relationship with God. In the end, it's about three men who lose track of right in the confusion of life, but who ultimately have a chance at redemption.


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