Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antoine Fuqua|
|Produced by||Elie Cohn
|Written by||Michael C. Martin|
|Music by||Marcelo Zarvos|
|Editing by||Barbara Tulliver|
Thunder Road Film Productions
|Distributed by||Overture Films|
|Running time||132 minutes|
Brooklyn's Finest is a 2009 American crime film directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes. The film was released on January 16, 2009. This was Wesley Snipes’ first theatrical release film since 2004's Blade: Trinity.
Brooklyn's Finest features a collaboration between Wesley Snipes and Ellen Barkin, reuniting them for the first time since 1996 film The Fan. This is the second film between Ethan Hawke and Antoine Fuqua; they both were previously in 2001 film Training Day.
The film takes place within the notoriously rough Brownsville section of Brooklyn and especially within the Van Dyke housing projects in the NYPD's (fictional) 65th precinct. The action revolves around three policemen whose relationships to their jobs are drastically different.
Carlo (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Detective Salvatore "Sal" Procida (Ethan Hawke) are having a conversation in a car when Sal unexpectedly shoots Carlo. However, Sal grabs a bag of money from Carlo's lap and flees. Sal confesses to a priest, asking for help with his dire situation. His wife (Lili Taylor) is pregnant with twins, in a house too small for their four children and has wood mold, which jeopardizes his family's health. Desperate to move, Sal has arranged to purchase a larger home through a woman who owes him a favor. The down payment is due the following Tuesday, and Sal is still short. Sal is a highly skilled and accomplished narcotics detective, but has begun to pocket drug money from raids.
Officer Edward "Eddie" Dugan (Richard Gere) is a week from retirement after 22 years of unremarkable service to the force. He is assigned to oversee rookies in the tough neighborhoods. His life in shambles; he swills whiskey in the morning to get out of bed and his only friend is a prostitute, Chantal (Shannon Kane), who he frequents.
Detective Clarence "Tango" Butler (Don Cheadle) is an undercover cop working the drug beat. After losing himself in his role as a drug dealer, he is tired of the kind of attention that a black man in a black car attracts. Having been promised a promotion and a desk job for years, he is finally offered a way out by betraying a close friend Casanova "Caz" Phillips (Wesley Snipes), a known criminal recently released from federal prison. Federal Agent Smith (Ellen Barkin) instructs Tango to set up the drug deal that will assure Caz's arrest and return to federal prison.
Eddie's first rookie assignment (Logan Marshall Green) is a former Marine, who becomes disgusted with Eddie's lack of professionalism and cynical outlook, and asks to be reassigned only to be killed on his next assignment. Eddie's second rookie assignment (Jesse Williams) accidentally fires his gun near a teenager during a petty theft investigation causing him to go deaf, leaving the NYPD facing a public relations nightmare. During the investigation, Eddie is remorseful for what happened, but refuses to play along with his superiors' attempts to imply that the teenager was a drug dealer.
When Tango goes to warn Caz to abort their upcoming drug deal, they are ambushed and Caz is shot, under orders from Red (Michael Kenneth Williams), a gangster Tango had humiliated previously. After Agent Smith makes a racist remark and refuses to pursue Red, Tango lunges at her, but is restrained by fellow officers.
Sal's latest raid on the complex was cancelled, but he decides to go to the location and rob the money he needs for his house. One of his team members, Detective Ronny Rosario (Brían F. O'Byrne), tries to stop him but fails. As he approaches the building, Sal passes Tango, who has come there to kill Red. Sal raids the apartment. After killing three people and finding their stockpile of cash, Sal is shot in the back and killed by a young man who became suspicious when he saw Sal enter the building. Tango gets his vengeance on Red, but is mistaken for a gangster and is shot by Rosario. Only after shooting Tango does Rosario realize he has shot another law officer. Rosario, still determined to stop Sal, is forced to continue his search for him. He witnesses the young man who shot Sal running away from the crime scene and is devastated when he finds Sal's body in the drug dealers' apartment.
Eddie retires and visits Chantal, who declines his offer to move to Connecticut. On his way home, Eddie sees a woman, (Sarah Thompson), who was reported missing, being shoved into a van. He follows the van to the Van Dyke housing projects, where he locates a sex slave dungeon in the basement. Eddie apprehends one of the men and is confronted by a second. Eddie tells the second man to get down, but is forced to shoot him in the chest, resulting in a violent fight that ends with Eddie strangling his opponent with a zip tie. Eddie finds redemption by rescuing the missing girls.
- Richard Gere as Officer Edward "Eddie" Dugan
- Don Cheadle as Detective Clarence "Tango" Butler
- Ethan Hawke as Detective Salvatore "Sal" Procida
- Wesley Snipes as Casanova "Caz" Phillips
- Vincent D'Onofrio as Bobby "Carlo" Powers
- Brían F. O'Byrne as Officer Ronny Rosario
- Will Patton as Bill Hobarts
- Michael Kenneth Williams as Red
- Lili Taylor as Angela Procida
- Shannon Kane as Chantel
- Ellen Barkin as Federal Agent Smith
- Wass Stevens as Detective Patrick Leary
- Armando Riesco as Detective George Montress
- Wade Allain-Marcus as C-Rayz
- Logan Marshal Green as Melvin Panton
- Jesse Williams as Officer Eddie Quinlan
- Hassan Iniko Johnson as Beamer
- Jas Anderson as K. Rock
- Raquel Castro as Katherine
- Tobias Truvillion as Gutta
The film was filmed in three boroughs in New York City: Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, locations included Brownsville and there, among others, the Van Dyke Houses. In Queens, locations included Rego Park. Michael C. Martin's script originally took place primarily in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, which were near where the writer and a couple of his friends grew up.
The total budget for the film was in the $17 million range, and many of the actors took large pay cuts to make the movie. The part of Man Man was given to Zaire Paige, a gang member from the neighborhood; three months after filming, he was involved in a murder, for which he was sentenced to 107 years in prison.
Michael C. Martin, the writer of the screenplay, went to South Shore High School, where a film appreciation course sparked his interest and an ACL injury derailed a possible future basketball career. He went on to study film at Brooklyn College. He originally wrote the Finest script for a screenwriter's contest after having been injured in a car accident in 2005. He did not win the contest but his second prize included a subscription to the IFP news letter. The script also continued to gain attention. Martin found an agent interested in him writing a New Jack City sequel, and finally, interested in producing the original script. Martin was paid $200,000 for the script.
In an interview at the time of the movie's release, Martin detailed the development of the film: "Jeanne O’Brien-Ebiri and Mary Viola are responsible for getting this movie made. Jeanne was the first person in the industry to read the script and she was responsible for getting me an agent and the staff job (as a staff writer on the Showtime series Sleeper Cell). And once the script was out there, it came across Mary Viola’s desk at Thunder Road as a writing sample for New Jack City 2. Mary, a native New Yorker, worked like hell to sell it to the head of Thunder Road, Basil Iwanyk. Basil was an executive on Training Day, he had a great relationship with Antoine. And once Antoine attached himself to the script Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes, and Ethan Hawke followed. Within weeks it received a green light."
By way of inspirations for the Finest script, Martin named three Italian neorealist films Nights of Cabiria, Umberto D., and Bicycle Thief and two directors, Vittorio De Sica who directed Umberto and Thief among others, and Jim Jarmusch.
Brooklyn's Finest premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009, and was picked up by Senator Distribution with a price "in the low seven figures". Due to some financial distress, Senator Distribution wasn't able to fund its release in 2009. The film was sold again to Overture Films at the Venice Film Festival in September, and was released in North America on March 5, 2010.
The film was met with mixed reviews. It currently holds a 43% approval rating based on 131 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The film also received a weighted average score of 43% at Metacritic, based on 33 reviews from mainstream critics.
In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, concluding that "The film has a basic strength in its performances and craft, but falls short of the high mark Fuqua obviously set for himself." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle praised the actors for "bringing dimension to these stock characters", but criticized the film for being "a melodrama about three cliches in search of a bloodbath."
A. O. Scott of the New York Times also gave the film a mixed review, stating that "the sheer charismatic force of much of the acting keeps you in the movie", but "Mr. Fuqua and Mr. Martin dig themselves into a pulpy predicament, and then find themselves unable to do anything but shoot their way out." The Los Angeles Times reviewer commented that "Brooklyn's Finest is an old style potboiler about desperate cops in dire straits that overcooks both its story and its stars."
In its debut weekend in the United States, Brooklyn's Finest opened at #2 behind Alice in Wonderland with $13,350,299 in 1,936 theaters, averaging $6,896 per theater. As of September 3, 2010, the film has grossed $27,163,593 in the United States theatrically, – a good result for its United States distributor Overture Films which paid less than $3 million to acquire this film's United States rights. The film also grossed $36,027,986 in theaters worldwide, and achieved an eleventh place on a "Cop Dirty" genre ranking, 1973–present.
- Black Reel Awards
- "Brooklyn's Finest (2010) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- Lee, Trymaine (August 10, 2008). "Brooklyn to Hollywood: That’s Some Subway Ride". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2010.
- "Q&A with Brooklyn's Fines screenwriter Michael C. Martin" Interview by Scott Myers, March 5, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- Elizabeth Dwoskin, Jason Parham (2011-01-26). "Zaire Paige Not Only Played a Movie Killer, He Became One in Real Life". Village Voice. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
- Aaron Braun page at RateMyTeacher.com. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- Cieply, Michael (January 26, 2009). "Movies Sell Slowly at Sundance". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
- Swart, Sharon (September 13, 2009). "Fuqua's 'Finest' to Overture". Variety. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
- "Brooklyn's Finest Movie Reviews – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- "Brooklyn's Finest reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. Amazon.com. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- Roger Ebert (March 3, 2010). "Brooklyn's Finest :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- Mick LaSalle (March 4, 2010). "Review: Cliches handcuff 'Brooklyn's Finest'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- A. O. Scott (March 5, 2010). "Movie Review - Brooklyn's Finest - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- Betsy Sharkey (March 5, 2010). "Review: 'Brooklyn's Finest' - latimes.com". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- "Weekend Report: Moviegoers Mad About ‘Alice’ – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- "Overture Box-Office Profits: $50M-$60M". TheWrap.com. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- "Cop – Dirty Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
- Kehr, Dave (July 4, 2010). "DVDS; A Lone Figure, Standing Upright Amid the Cyclone". The New York Times. p. 8. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- Arnold, Thomas K. (July 14, 2010). "'Brooklyn's Finest' dominates video charts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 15, 2010.[dead link]
- Official website
- Brooklyn's Finest at the Internet Movie Database
- Brooklyn's Finest at allmovie
- Brooklyn's Finest at Box Office Mojo
- Brooklyn's Finest at Metacritic
- Brooklyn's Finest at Rotten Tomatoes
- On Directing (Brooklyn's Finest) with Antoine Fuqua nthWORD Magazine Interview by Gina Ponce, April 2010