A big-name cast and some big-time issues are not enough to make up for a small-time script that adds absolutely nothing new to the too-often-told tale of police corruption and family betrayal. It is as generic as its title.
Four police officers are killed in an ambush, devastating a family of cops. Francis Tierney, Sr. (John Voight) is a department official. His oldest son, Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is the police chief and his son-in-law Jimmy (Colin Farrell) is a colleague of the men who were slain. Francis presses his other son, Ray (Edward Norton) to leave his desk job, where he’s been hiding out since a conflict, and take over the investigation, not knowing that it will lead him to his own family.
Norton and Farrell are excellent, as always, as are supporting performances from Rick Gonzalez as a drug dealer and Jennifer Ehle as Francis, Jr.’s sick wife. But it makes an enormous and ultimately exhausting effort to hide the lightweight and predictable nature of the script with (1) non-stop bad language, (2) a lot of very graphic violence, including a horrifying torture scene, police harassment, murder, and suicide, (3) ramped-up emotions based on having every one of the main characters related to each other. It is weighed down further with over-used clichÃ©s like a slow-motion funeral procession in the snow and over-used dialogue like “Don’t talk to me about the truth. You got no idea what it takes to do what we do” and “I was a good man once.” Now that’s a crime.