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Just been talking about this in the Stallone thread... so here's a review.

Review #144: Cop Land

The town of Garrison, New Jersey, is a town which is basically where most of New York's police officers live. Sheriff Freddy Heflin is the guy who has to police this town.
Heflin is a failed New York cop, he's partially deaf and not really very bright... but he's trying, hard working and friendly but still, isn't exactly the role model cop that he would want to be. He's also not super fit physically either.

When a particular incident occures within the city limits which results in the deaths of innocent teenagers at the hands of a cop, it seems that corrupt cops and some almost political cover-ups are taking place...

... and Sheriff Heflin ends up (whether he wants to be or not) smack bang in the middle of it.
He is after all the Sheriff of Cop Land and he must do what is right, as he has done all his life, and bring an end to the corruption... but not only will he be taking on the entire New York police force, but people he considers friends and allies will become involved in his clean cut law abiding ways.

A very, very well pieced together drama-action with a very well used plot (good cop fighting corrupt cops etc) is brought to the screen by director James Mangold.

Cop Land actually plays against type with a lot of the actors involved and steers itself away from the typical Hollywood explosions and superhuman hero cops and goes for as more realistic take on the well used plot devices.

What gives Cop Land a different feel is the screenplay. It's been written absolutely brilliantly. There's a backstory there in regard to story and plot, there's backstory to the characters involved and there's also a lovely brooding outtake on the turns of events by all the actors involved too.
The other thing is the mystery involved that turns into more of a 'do the right thing' movie in the third act.
Some of the actual mystery falls a little flat and is opened up to the viewer relatively quickly, but the movie does this knowingly to give the audience something to get behind the heroes on as the movie progresses.

There are some hits of action throughout, but it comes in drips and drabs but the well rounded character writing adds much much more to the action involved... it adds a massive element of real life and realism to the overall feel of the more exciting scenes.

The other thing that gives the movie an edge is the ensemble talent on show, Sly Stallone, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Janeane Garofalo and Michael Rapaport are just a handful of recognisable faces on show.

Stallone in particular is a massive surprise as Sheriff Heflin. He's playing against type. He's real, believeable as the torn hero and his take on the simple minded, half deaf Sheriff out to do the right thing is exceptionally well played. Definitely Sly's best acting performance.

The onscreen chemistry, not just between Sly and De Niro (which is fantastic by the way), but between all the actors on screen is exceptional. They all play their roles perfectly. Some roles are kept off screen a little more than I'd like, namely Ray Liotta and De Niro, I wanted to see more of them and their disparate exploits in the story.
Still though, as I said, the performances they give are top work.


All in all, a surprisingly well written, shot and directed movie and is acted brilliantly by the ensemble cast. It's also extremely good at creating the audience-character connections.
A definite must see drama-action.

My rating: 94%