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A washed-up sheriff watches a bag change hands amongst tales of outlandish contraband in a smokey bar. He sees nothing amiss, as he knocks a pinball aimlessly around it's glittering cage. Because this is the town were New York's finest come to live, and all the faces are familiar protectors of the peace.

But underneath the sleepy safety which the sheriff would happily perceive, there's a whole den of thieves and murderers running around without reprieve.

On this particular night most of the cops are off celebrating a stag do, and it's only when a young nephew of an important cop drives off drunkenly that things start to go awry. After an unlawful killing the cover up begins, which by the end will have whole struts of certainty caving in.

A swathe of familiar swarthy faces crowd round this homely NYPD town. As Sylvester Stallone casts his droopy eyes over the smokey bar, Harvey Keitel runs the whole house of cards, with Robert Patrick and Ray Liotta playing structural parts. Robert Deniro is the fierce Internal Affairs officer doggedly on Keitel's case, and fresh-faced Michael Rapaport the nephew who causes complacency to be displaced.

The sheriff lumbers to the conclusion that all is not well in a way not dissimilar to Stallone's over-weight on-screen wanderings. And in this sense, what the plot somehow lacks in acceleration, it makes up for with a type of muffled anticipation. His partial deafness, from a past act of kindness, is used to good effect to both remind him of what he's lost and to mimick the blindness he's shown in his life.

That said though, i would have liked something a bit stronger to kick through the sophoriphic sheen that was cast over both town and screen. I felt this was a good movie, well told, but the overall effect didn't inject a steely light of recognition into its well-filmed folds.

Perhaps it's all a fair representation of the ponderous fights which the sheriff's life evolves through. "Being right isn't a bullet proof jacket" he gets told, but that innocence is the gold in his heart we have to respect.

It wasn't deep, but it was kind of replete in it's own "small-town" way.

I give it: one shotgun, two bushy frowns, and a big okay.