A pleasant surprise
I picked up Narc at a discount DVD store, because I was in a hurry and
just wanted to pick up a few cheap films to take with me on a trip.
When Narc was over I was surprised at how good it was. The former
undercover cop turned drug addict (and then gets rehabilitated and put
back on the job) thing has been done to death, but there was something
about this familiar story that hit home with me. Jason Patric nailed
his character 100%. Completely realistic, never doubted his actions for
a second. Liotta was just about as good. A few over the top moments but
otherwise a very effective performance.
Definitely worth taking a look if you're into cop dramas. 8 out of 10..
Believe everything except your eyes
For about 80 per cent of its run time, "Narc" is an engrossing--if not
particularly transcendent--police procedural delving into the dark
hearts of its severely flawed protagonists: Nick Tellis (Jason Patric,
seemingly channeling a young Al Pacino), an undercover narcotics agent
with a stormy past of addiction; and Henry Oak (Ray Liotta in a
commanding comeback performance), a cop driven to the brink of
obsession by the murder of his longtime partner, Michael Calvess (Alan
Van Sprang). After Tellis botches a bust, slaying the perpetrator but
causing a pregnant woman to lose her unborn child, he is assigned to
investigate Calvess's murder alongside the increasingly unhinged Oak.
While that snippet of plot description may sound like nothing new (and
it really isn't), writer-director Joe Carnahan ("Smokin' Aces") is
sneaky (without cheating) in the way he maps out the film--while the
narrative is essentially a series of encounters between Tellis, Oak,
and the lowlifes who associated with Calvess's undercover narc, he
knows how to keep details hidden until the point where they will make
the most sense, and impact the viewer hardest. While the details of
Tellis's and Oak's private lives threaten clich.