Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Jason Patric
Ray Liotta
Chi McBride
Busta Rhymes.
Directors
Joe Carnahan.
Screenwriters
Joe Carnahan.
Running Time
105 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Erebus: Into The Unknown
3 Star Empire Rating
Walesa: Man of Hope
4 Star Empire Rating
Warn that Man
3 Star Empire Rating
West 11
2 Star Empire Rating
We Joined The Navy
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating

Narc
Jason Patric and Ray Liotta turn in amazing performances as undercover narcotics cops.


submit to reddit


Plot
Persuaded back into active service by his superiors, Nick Tellis finds himself walking the same dangerous streets that almost got him killed when he was an undercover narcotics cop. Now he's investigating the murder of a fellow officer - but is his volatile new partner, Lt. Henry Oak, entirely on the level?


Review
Maybe it's the woollen hat and the handlebar moustache. Maybe it's the hefty good-cop-bad-cop pairing. Or maybe it's the split screen sequence. Whatever it is, there's something about Narc that's reminiscent of classic '70s cop movies such as Serpico and The French Connection. And if director Joe Carnahan doesn't quite match the output of that golden age, it's not for lack of effort on his or his cast's part.

Carnahan - whose directorial debut Blood, Guts, Bullets And Octane represented the worst of the American indies' infatuation with Tarantino posturing - has come of age with a movie that bristles with energy, from its stand-out, hand-held opening chase to its brutal, bloody denouement.

The film's visual hallmark is more Seven than Dirty Harry, but this isn't all about surface sheen. Carnahan's independent sensibilities go further than that, digging deep into the minds of his characters.

He takes undercover-cop clichÚs ù tearful wife, Black captain, mismatched partners ù and uses them as psychological tools. What is it that drives these men to lay their lives on the line, day in, day out? Narc might not have all the answers but, unlike so many films in the same narrative ballpark, at least it has the audacity to ask the questions.

To this end, the director is helped in no small part by his leading men. Patric very probably has the harder of the two roles; the troubled, introspective Tellis is caught between loving duty to his wife and consuming empathy for the dead undercover cop. Note that it's not bullying from above, but a snatched glance at a scan photograph of the deceased's unborn child that convinces him to take the case.

That said, it's Liotta - Oak by name, oak by stature - who dominates the film with the best performance of his career. Quick to anger but with a smothered sensitivity, this character's essential ambiguity keeps the plot ticking over.


Verdict
Undoubtedly. Later on, when story takes over from character and mood, the film drops into mainstream mystery territory. But that’s a small price to pay for performances and direction of such a high standard.


Reviewed by Alan Morrison

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Narc
Empire Star Rating

Just saw Narc, man, what an overlooked film. Genuinely great police/crime movie looking at the undercover side of things and how it affects people and their family's, and what they are willing to do to protect people they care about whether it's within the rules or not. Brilliant performances, great story and twist(s). Proof that Liotta can be really great, his best movie easily after Goodfellas. Jason Patrick was really good as well, and the film was really gritty and realistic. The opening sce... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Coyleone at 23:53, 04 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Narc,pure class

It was good yes. Ray Liotta was great in it and was a dark, nitty-gritty cop movie that proves that Detroit cops ain't scared to get their hands dirty. ... More

Posted by curtain twitcher at 17:17, 10 April 2007 | Report This Post


Narc,pure class

It should have got five stars,this movie was pure class.  The dark and dirty visuals were amazing,not to mention the powerhouse performance by jason patric.  Why isnt there more movies like this,cus we all know nasty shit happens everyday,especially in and around the american police forces.  then theres ray liotta,well,what can u say,hes just ray,always delivers!!!    ] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by watwudscoobydo at 17:00, 10 April 2007 | Report This Post


Grabs you by the balls

One of the best cop movies of recent memory, full of shouting, shooting scenes that keep you hooked right to the end. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 10:39, 23 March 2007 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Joaquin Phoenix Talks Inherent Vice
Plus co-stars Josh Brolin and Katherine Waterston

Stephen Daldry Talks Trash
The Billy Elliot man on his Rio carnival and training as a clown

Colin Firth And Taron Egerton Talk Kingsman: The Secret Service
Plus Samuel L. Jackson on bad-guy duties

A Brief History Of The Ring
Everything you need to know about the J-horror reboot

The X-Men TV Series: 10 Possible Plotlines
Mutants on a budget? We suggest some ideas for Fox’s new franchise extension

10 Kid-Friendly Marvel Comics That Could Be The Next Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animation Studios have a lot to play with elsewhere in the Marvelverse

20 Sitcom Spin-Offs That Were Doomed To Fail
From Joey to Ally and back again…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)