Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA/Australia, 2001. Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, NPV Entertainment, Outlaw Productions, WV Films II. Screenplay by David Ayer. Cinematography by Mauro Fiore. Produced by Jeffrey Silver. Music by Mark Mancina. Production Design by Naomi Shohan. Costume Design by Michele Michel. Film Editing by Conrad Buff IV. Academy Awards 2001. American Film Institute Awards 2001. Boston Film Critics Awards 2001. Golden Globe Awards 2001. New York Film Critics Awards 2001. Online Film Critics Awards 2001. Toronto International Film Festival 2001.
Exciting cop drama forgoes solid plot in favour of focusing on the irresistible personalities of its two leads. Ethan Hawke is superb as a rookie narc whose first day on the job has him working with his new superior officer (Denzel Washington), a fast-talking, slick-as-snot undercover cop who believes that to get the bad guys you gotta be a bad guy yourself (and boy is he bad). You never get the impression that the film knows where it wants to go next, but the sharp photography, high-octane direction and Washington’s mesmerizing, Oscar-winning performance make you sure that you don’t want to miss a second of it either.