Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I was unfamiliar with NARC (2002), a gritty, urban crime film that I watched the other day. It's a small, independent film but it's very well done.

Jason Patric stars as an undercover narcotics cop with the Detroit Police Department. The film opens with an adrenaline fueled drug bust that goes horribly wrong. Innocent people are killed and Patric finds himself off of the force. A year and a half later, he's given a chance at redemption when he's asked to investigate the shooting death of another undercover narcotics cop. He's teamed with bulldog detective Ray Liotta, who may know details about the crime that he won't reveal.

The investigation takes them through the seedy underbelly of a decaying city. It's not a pretty sight. They eventually develop leads that bring them closer to the truth of the murder which sets up a tense and suspenseful third act and an ending that I did not see coming. I won't spoil the surprises in store but suffice it to say that all is not what it seems in this perplexing case.

Patric is good as the troubled narcotics cop but Liotta steals the show with his unbridled, righteous anger and fury. He is a cop you do not want to cross. Writer-director John Carnahan's debut effort is a solid piece of work. The screenplay is an expansion of a short film he wrote several years earlier. The two leads carry much of the narrative weight and the location filming (Detroit and Quebec) and the washed out visual palette of wintry blues and grays does much to establish character and mood. The language is explicit and the violence is graphic but it's in service to this tough, tragic crime story. Thumbs up.

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