Cop Land

01  NOV
No One Is Above The Law

Directed by  James Mangold
Written by  James Mangold
Starring:  Sylvester Stallone (Sheriff Freddy Heflin)
Harvey Keitel (Ray Donlan)
Ray Liotta (Gary "Figgsy" Figgis)
Robert De Niro (Moe Tilden)
Peter Berg (Joey Randone)
Annabella Sciorra (Liz Randone)
Runtime: 104 minutes
Policemen have always been the idols of Freddy Heflin. Due to being slightly deaf, Heflin could never pass the physical to become a police officer himself. However, because of his friendly, amiable nature, he's managed to get himself elected Sheriff of a small New Jersey county outside of New York City, and he lives in a town where many NYPD cops also live. Moe Tilden is an Internal Affairs investigator for the NYPD, and his investigation of some crooked cops leads him to this small town, and to Sheriff Freddy Heflin. Heflin begins to help Tilden, and discovers that some of his heroes may have feet of clay... - Afterburner

I couldn't miss the first movie in which Stallone has a chance to act in a dramatic part, it's a pity that the script is not so good as I expected. Stallone does act in a remarkable way in fact, he is up to the same level as the other good actors featuring in this movie.

The story deals with the usual corrupted cops (all living in the same small town, hence the title) defending one another, only the local sheriff finally decides to fight against this dishonesty pushed by yet another dubious incident and by the visit of an Internal Affairs investigator. There is also an attempt to make the sheriff character deeper providing him with a touching past story and an unsuccessful love affair. However, both these points seemed a bit weak and the other characters are described in an rather flat way.

The first part of the movie is fairly slow, boring and sometimes hard to follow but then it seems to hurry too much till the end. By making it less monotonous at the beginning would also prevent people from questioning the plot which seems a bit flawed, how is it possible that a famous cop can be made disappear so easily when everybody seemed to know that he wasn't actually dead?

The moralist approach becomes more and more evident as the end comes closer, the good sheriff and a formerly corrupted and dishonest cop manage to kill the bad guys in a gun fight and defeat the whole collusion between cops and mafia. From a typical action movie I could expect and 'accept' such a happy ending but from a more sober movie I wanted something more.

After all, Cop Land is not a bad movie, it will probably be appreciated by the fan of this genre which I am not. I think that by improving some weak part, eventually at the expense of a longer runtime, it could have been much better. A not-too-happy ending would also help a lot...

Rating: 6.5  **

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999