Tuesday 6 July 2010

Brooklyn's Finest (Antoine Fuqua, USA, 2009)

Three cops: Eddie, Tango, Sal. One will suffer a futile death. One will get what he truly deserves. One will – at the very end – redeem himself.

Eddie: Twenty-one years on the force. One week from retirement. His fellow officers won’t miss him when he finally walks out the door. A burn-out. Suicidal. Stopped caring about the job a long time ago. He just wants to get through these last five days as easy as he can. But the commander – twisting the knife – assigns Eddie, a rookie, as ride-along. Abandoning this new partner in a situation beyond his experience, he accidently kills a young kid. Tango: Deep undercover. As a gangster, a drug dealer. Except the role is becoming his life. He finds himself behaving like the people he has been assigned to bring down. This has taken its toll. His wife has left him. He’s done his time, he wants his promised promotion, he wants a desk job. One final task – take out the gang’s boss, Caz. Trouble is, Caz once saved Tango’s life. And he has more respect for Caz than he does for his chain of command. Sal: Married. With five kids. And twins on the way. The house is too crowded, old, falling to pieces, rot causing his wife breathing problems. Just needs to find the deposit for something better – for his family. Each attempt to raise some deposit fails – and ever more desperate, he uses his badge to break the law. Then Sal’s wife is hospitalised. Theft escalates to murder.

Brooklyn's Finest. Eddie, Tango, Sal – three cops in crisis, three cops walking the road to hell. One who’s lost it, one gone native, one turned killer. Three different characters exploring three different situations, three different stories with which director Antoine Fuqua creates a singular cinematic endeavour. From the very beginning, the film is composed of three isolated narrations – each of which is decomposed into sequences which intercut with one another; yet the film will continually resist bringing these three series into direct contact. It seems inevitable – from the very beginning – that the three narrations will somehow come together, dovetail in some pay-off. Indeed, the final scene appears – at first – to deliver upon such a promise. The three protagonists cross paths in one location, an inner city tower block. Yet this crossing of paths is fleeting, a ruse. Fuqua maintains the independence of each of the three lines of narration to the very end. We must therefore ask, what is the purpose of such a feint, and such separation?

Deleuze, in his taxonomy of cinema, describes a type of film at the extreme limit of the small form action-image...

To read the full exploration of Brooklyn's Finest through the Deleuze's sign of the 'extreme limit of the small form action-image,' see Deleuze's Cinema Books: Three Introductions to the Taxonomy of Images...

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