not so sure about the title and the opening credit sequence, which features still photos of nyc cops in generally a bad light. it made me think that the film was going to be about police brutality when it really wasn’t. felt incongruous to me.
joaquin phoenix really drives the emotion of the film, and if you don’t buy into his character and his changes, then you may not like the film. there are occasionally saccharine moments, but they are forgivable because the majority of the film is poignant or thrilling or just plain solid. there are some good lines in the film, stuff like “it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6” or, when talking about the police going vigilante, “you can’t piss yourself and stay warm for long.”
it feels longer than it is which one could say adds to the epic-feeling story it tells. however, if you don’t like it then it’ll just feel too drawn out.
there are a few scenes that are really well done and you’ll know them when you see them. gray uses sound and the camera in natural (for life, unnatural for film) ways that put you in the action and heighten the tension.Watched in theater