Narc (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/02/2003

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Imressive, gripping cop thriller with terrific performances from its two stars.

A glance at the cast list for Narc and you could easily be forgiven for dismissing it out of hand – after all, what’s Liotta been good in since Goodfellas? And as for Jason Patric, okay, he was something of a surprise in Your Friends And Neighbours, but what’s he done recently?

However, Narc has a few surprises up its sleeve – both actors give terrific, career-best performances, the script is tightly written and the result has the potential to be one of the sleeper hits of the year.

Simple Plot…Frenetically Executed

The plot is, ostensibly, fairly simple. A frenetic, breathless opening sequence introduces us to undercover narcotics cop Nick Tellis (Jason Patric), on a drug bust that goes horribly, violently wrong.

The story then continues some time later, with Nick being wooed back into active service to investigate the murder of another undercover cop. In doing so, he is teamed up with the victim’s ex-partner, Lt. Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), who is seemingly obsessed with solving the case. However, Tellis soon comes to suspect that his new partner may not be entirely trustworthy…

Not As Predictable Or Generic As It Sounds

Admittedly, it sounds horribly predictable and generic, but, rest assured, this is the antithesis of the typical Hollywood ‘buddy’ movie, with a gripping storyline, characters you care about and a script that keeps you guessing till the end.

The performances are superb, with both actors relishing the chance to sink their teeth into something this complex. It’s certainly no vanity piece – Patric for one sports facial hair that would embarrass the Village People – but they both give it everything they’ve got. It’s probably fair to say that Liotta will never top his role as Henry Hill in Goodfellas, but his performance here is head and shoulders above anything he’s done since then.

A lot of the credit for the film has to go to writer-director Joe Carnahan, who has come a long way since his sub-Tarantino debut Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane. The film has effective, washed-out photography and Carnahan uses several different techniques (hand-held camerawork, split-screen etc) that add considerably to the film rather than come across as showing off.

In short, this is an effective, gripping police thriller that is well worth seeing, with Liotta and Patric both giving what could be career-salvaging performances. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Narc (18)
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Content updated: 22/04/2019 11:24

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