Feature

Brooklyn’s Finest

Antoine Fuqua's “old-fashioned potboiler” stars Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Gere as tough cops struggling with separate demons.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua
(R)

**

“Actors love playing tortured cops,” said Rene Rodriguez in The Miami Herald. Such parts let performers show both toughness and tenderness, and director Antoine Fuqua’s latest features not one but three of these men. Don Cheadle is an officer who’s been undercover so long he’s “starting to lose his bearings”; Ethan Hawke is a devout Catholic who’s skimming drug money; Richard Gere is a grizzled vet about to retire. Fuqua was trying to make a hard-boiled classic like his 2001 film Training Day, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. Instead, he ends up with an “old-fashioned potboiler.” The three men’s downward trajectories are a bit too predictable, unfolding “like neat little lines of cocaine” leading to one climactic conclusion. The real problem is that screenwriter Michael C. Martin “has made these stories so tonally similar” that they all blend together, said Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. Fuqua coaxes powerful individual scenes from each of his lead performers. But Brooklyn’s Finest seems to be a case of “good actors and a talented director doing what they can to bring truth to a script that’s mostly bogus.”

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