I very nearly did not watch this film due to the negative reviews I heard, but I could not turn away from a movie with Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes and Ethan Hawke. It turns out that it was very much worth my time.
Now, yes, the story has problems. The basic premise is fine, with three cops (Gere, Cheadle and Hawke) living different lives that sort of kinda connect at the very end, roughly. Cheadle is an undercover drug runner in operation with Snipes, which took me back twenty years to Sugar Hill. In fact, many aspects of this film you have seen before in other movies, not even touching on the fact that director Antoine Fuqua directed Hawke in a gritty cop drama nearly a decade prior.
That said, the acting in this is very good. Solid. Intense. Dynamic. I don’t think anyone gave a bad performance. I could have watched these characters go through their lives for another two hours. It is unfortunate that they weren’t used to better effect, but the film is not a waste. The story is flawed but not weak, and combined with the superb acting, sufficient to get the job done.
While not the best film of 2009, it is a down to earth, grime and crime drama that should appeal to fans of cop movies and character studies alike.