Thursday, May 9, 2019

Tribeca with Abe: Crown Vic

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which ran April 24th – May 5th.

Crown Vic
Directed by Joel Souza
Spotlight Narrative

If a character is introduced as being on the first day of their job, it’s a good bet that they’re in for a wild ride that is in no way representative of the average experience for a newbie. Their lack of knowledge about how their specific field works often leaves them completely unprepared for what they’re about to undergo, though not having lived in and been conditioned by a particular world can also give them crucial insight that the enlightened may lack. Pairing a seasoned, disgruntled veteran with a first-timer is a well-tested recipe for an explosive and transformative ordeal.

Nick (Luke Kleintank) begins his first shift on the street as a police officer in Los Angeles after working hard to earn his place when most assumed that his famous cop father simply put him there. Acclimating him to the job is first-time training officer Ray (Thomas Jane), who has spent more than two decades on the same beat. As murderous bank robbers roam the streets, taking out cops along the way, rookie Nick, whose wife is expecting a child, must determine how closely he will follow Ray’s guidance, especially as things take a dark turn when they encounter an off-the-rails detective (Josh Hopkins) with no limits.

If you’re in search of the ultimate cop movie, where anything that could feasibly occur in the course of one night of a police officer’s patrol, this may be it. What begins as simple musings about Ray’s extended career and Nick’s lack of experience turns into the two of them fighting against every conceivable threat, from out-of-control colleagues to armed resistance to human trafficking cases. It’s hard to believe that even a fraction of this could actually take place in this timeframe, but this film does manage to be engaging enough for its 110-minute runtime.

Jane often dabbles in this kind of dark fare, though this reviewer enjoyed him best in a lighthearted role on HBO’s “Hung.” He typifies the hardened cop personality who thinks he’s done it all and can’t be fazed by anything anymore. Opposite him, Kleintank, who played Joe Blake on “The Man in the High Castle,” portrays Nick as overly self-confident while being utterly unprepared for the reality of what he might experience. Hopkins, usually a less resounding presence on shows like “Quantico” or “Cougar Town,” delivers a surprisingly intense and harrowing turn as someone well past the edge. This film is likely just right for devotees of the genre, while others may find it a bit over-the-top, engaging but decidedly exaggerated.


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