Narc is just one of those movies that stands out for a number of reasons. The first being the acting, and the second being the sense of style the director chose to give his creation.

The film focuses on the murder of an undercover cop infiltrating a ring of drugs and drug dealers, this is the overall plot device, but there are several little side-stories going on at the same time that sometimes keep you guessing as to whose side everyone is on, and what their motives are. Detective Sgt. Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) has been off the force for 18 months when he is called in to assist in the investigation into the aforementioned cop’s murder. The movie opens 18 months prior to present day with Tellis chasing down a suspect into a playground and opening fire, killing the assailant, but also hitting a pregnant women and causing her to lose her child. No Tellis has a family of his own and wants nothing to do with the Police investigation, but he is talked into doing so by his longtime friend and captain (Chi McBride).

To proceed through the investigation, Tellis is teamed up with the murdered cops close friend Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), who had been thrown off the case for being too close to the victim. Together they being to piece together the puzzle of Calvess’ (Alan Van Sprang) murder and the events that lead up to it.

As I mentioned before, Narc stands above the crowd because of acting and style. The acting is nothing of a surprise with Ray Liotta and Jason Patric headlining. Liotta comes off perfectly as a brutal cop bent on discovering the circumstances behind his friend’s murder. As the movie progresses, you will learn more about why he is so close to the family. Patric plays the troubled, family man Nick Tellis wonderfully. Through the course of the movie he begins to put the pieces together and gets so caught up in the investigation that he puts his home life at risk. The movie is able to stand on these two actors, but a wide, talented, supporting cast coasts the movie along through it’s 105 minute run time. Ray Liotta should not be overlooked for a possible supporting-actor Oscar nomination later this year, his performance is excellent.

The cinematographer used a handheld camera during a few chase scenes, specifically the one near the beginning when Tellis is chasing down a suspect into the playground, and the come off amazing. Just the blurring movement of the camera brings up the intensity of the scene ten-fold, as you can’t see what is going on until the running stops and a split second decision has to be made. The style is similar to genre favorites Se7en and Traffic in the way the movie is shot and filmed. The movie also picks up a sense of individuality by the lack of color throughout. The print is composed of dark blues, grays, and blacks and it gives the movie a distinctly gritty, corrupt feel.

For the faint of heart, you must be warned. The movie is brutal in some of it’s violence. At one point Oak beats a suspect with a billard ball in a sock, and the amount of blood in the scene in which the pregnant women get shot is shocking.

No movie is without it’s problems, and Narc is no exception. Unfortunately, even with great acting and cool camera effects, the movie can’t escape it’s 2D plot and hackneyed way of getting from point to point. I won’t fill this review with spoilers but sometimes the obvious isn’t always true. The movie is entirely enjoyable, even with the lamebrain plot, but it would have been nice to see some more originally infused.

Narc is an excellent film, it’s style, acting, and direction will make you appreciate movies for movies again and not countless strings of cars blowing up like some studios want to feed you these days. If you get a chance to see it in the theatre, jump on it, but we can hopefully expected a feature packed DVD this summer.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!