More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 31.11%
Average: 13.33%
Pretty Bad: 3.33%
Total Crap: 4.44%

6 reviews, 54 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Axcellerator by Jay Seaver

Life After Flash by Rob Gonsalves

Everybody Knows by Jay Seaver

Alita: Battle Angel by Peter Sobczynski

Integrity by Jay Seaver

Happy Death Day 2U by Peter Sobczynski

Arctic by Jay Seaver

Punk Samurai Slash Down by Jay Seaver

Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The by Rob Gonsalves

High Flying Bird by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Yet Another Notch On The Next Great Wave Of Filmmakers"
4 stars

Watching Narc, you are struck in-your-face with one of two possibilities. Either someone is out to make a name for himself or we’re watching a real filmmaker in action. All the tricks of the trade are in play: hand-held cameras, murky filters, flashbacks, flashforwards and twists on top of twists. Gritty as the story may be and for as little money on which the film was shot, there’s an absolute professionalism on display that displaces the usual cheap look of an independent production and opens your eyes to the realization that you may be witnessing the birth of a career here.

The director’s name is Joe Carnahan. His first film back in 1998, Blood Guts Bullets & Octane was shot in three weeks for only $8,000. It was energetic and showed promise in the same way similar success stories of Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino became legend in the independent community. Based on what Hollywood had already seen of Narc on the festival circuit, Tom Cruise helped pony up the money to distribute it and Harrison Ford hired him to direct his next project (A Walk Among the Tombstones) after calling this “one of the best films he’s ever seen.”

Starring in Narc is erstwhile journeyman actor, Jason Patric, whose critical praise over the years and failure to capitalize that talent into a household name has turned into a joke in some circles when the next hyped big thing comes along and goes nowhere. Patric, however, is no joke and his return to the big screen is long overdue. In Narc he plays undercover narcotics officer Nick Tellis, who in the opening scene has his cover blown resulting in a tragic shootout and a suspension from the force.

After 18 months the force offers him a do-over by investigating the death of a fellow officer. Reluctantly, over the standard objections of his wife, he gets back on the horse and is teamed up with the dead cop’s partner, Lt. Henry Oak (Ray Liotta). Oak is a bit temperamental and isn’t afraid to smack a suspect for information or if the mood suits him. Their investigation is a good old-fashioned police procedual full of the good cop/bad cop stances and a den of secret cover-ups that neither may be comfortable with letting out.

With so many cop shows on television from NYPD Blue to the 47 spinoffs of Law & Order and CSI, most viewers are liable to feel like officers of the law, recognizing which clues to identify and when someone is lying. As television begins to feel more like the movies (24 anyone?) and vice versa, filmmakers have a huge satellite on their shoulder to offer something more beyond the retro 70s approach to the cop-and-criminals genre.

Carnahan succeeds in this area due to a fluent energy that never lets up. His filmmaking tricks do occasionally smack of a newcomer trying to impress with style over the material, which could easily be reduced to a 45-minute teleplay, but never insults us. The script is way too tight to have us focusing on one or the other and watching Patric and Liotta do their thing on their suspects and each other is solid enough to lose the cameras altogether and substitute a stage. Patric, all reserved and brooding, is the perfect counterpoint to Liotta’s hulking powderkeg and seeing them together, especially in the film’s final scenes goes a long way to prove why any frequent absence of theirs from the cinema is a detriment to everyone.

Carnahan is going to go a long way in this business. Whether Narc succeeds at the box office or not, a legion of fans are awaiting to discover this guy and will follow him, at the very least, to the heights of fanboy heaven. The resurgence of fresh, young filmmakers haven’t been this prevalent since the days of the 70s and the future is starting to look bright again for the cinema. If stars like Cruise and Ford can recognize the talent and put their faith into a guy like Carnahan, maybe more names will step up to the plate to help out other aspiring wannabes beyond the usual crop of studio yes-men and edit-happy music video helmers. Carnahan is a director to watch and everyone can start right now with Narc.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 12/20/02 10:58:08
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/08/17 morris campbell gritty compelling cop movie 4 stars
1/18/12 hurdygurdy man Not bad. 4 stars
10/26/09 Boy76 Most people agree that it is legitimate for jewelers to make ornaments out of raw gold, but 2 stars
10/23/09 Gangster57 These two modifications allowed the aging network to expand the scope of its reach to inc 5 stars
10/22/09 Settor26 Which backfired because that pissed her off. , 5 stars
5/20/09 the dork knight somewhat decieving mystery (macguffin) with a cast so good, I wanted more 4 stars
2/15/07 johnnyfog I still can't believe that was Jason Patric! Outstanding movie 5 stars
2/01/07 William Goss Gritty style, great performances make up for underwhelming, overwrought plot. 4 stars
4/02/06 Dillon Gritty and real cop drama. Liotta and Patric are great 5 stars
9/05/05 R.W. Welch Urban cop flick has good plotting but is slightly overwrought -- steady fever pitch. 4 stars
8/04/05 Hockeytown Gripping reality, raw and visceral. Don't waste your time trying to find its equal. 5 stars
7/31/05 yuko great movie 5 stars
7/11/05 Indrid Cold Liotta is awesome as usual, but on the whole it's just a drop in the police drama ocean. 3 stars
12/02/04 lucas great acting by both leads 5 stars
8/16/04 Dallas Moye Best cop movie ever 5 stars
6/21/04 Rock Hound Just another yarn about corrupt cops: actually, they ALL are, really, and I ought to know.. 2 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot dave told me it was awesome, i thought it was just good. 3 stars
3/22/04 Keifer Sutherland_RULZ This is may not be the best film but... It beats watching 'Training Day'. 5 stars
1/08/04 Shane Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Better then TRIAING DAY is very much right AD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/03/04 A F That was a let down. 2 stars
9/18/03 AD better then training day 5 stars
9/17/03 Jinnvisible Angst(lots of close ups),claustophbic(set indoors),Cop,(same ole) ,Good facial hair though 3 stars
8/21/03 Piz Everything you would expect from a 2-hr crime/thriller flick 4 stars
8/15/03 Paul Dempsey Why can't a film like this get made in Australia I wonder? Low budegt yet top notch quality 5 stars
8/15/03 Double G pissing is more entertaining 1 stars
8/07/03 Monday Morning Gripping. I gripped my remote control and shut it off. 3 stars
7/30/03 Dr. Bitterpants I liked it in 1992 when it was originally called "NYPD BLUE: SEASON I." Same old stuff. 3 stars
7/06/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back MoFos!!!) Liotta deserves an Oscar, the camerawork is great, and the finale is awesome! 5 stars
6/18/03 Jack Sommersby Superb perfs by Patric and Liotta slightly redeem a palpably absurd screenplay. 3 stars
5/23/03 Johnny One of the best drama of the year 5 stars
5/17/03 planetlucas twisted shit, kind of depressing 4 stars
3/14/03 Ashley Corpening What a piss-stream of consciousness-numbing! Incoherent and insufferable. 1 stars
2/14/03 Andrew Carden Ray Liotta - It's Your Birthday! 5 stars
2/11/03 Syrinx Great cop flick, but the cinematography makes you a little airsick. Ray Liotta was awesome. 4 stars
2/04/03 ownerofdajoint pactric and liotta put on a great show!!! 5 stars
2/01/03 Jimmy Jamez gripping stuff 5 stars
1/31/03 rue the whirl fuck king awes some 5 stars
1/27/03 adrianna GOOD MOVIE THAT KEPT YOU ON YOUR FEET. 4 stars
1/26/03 Mr Math Truly awesome flick, deserving of Oscar merit. Don't wait until video, see NARC 5 stars
1/24/03 meathole Holy fuck!!! Amazing!!! 5 stars
1/19/03 othree U already kno the butler did it Patric Liotta always deliver heroic even if the story wsnt 4 stars
1/18/03 john contrary to an earlier review Tillis's home life don't bog this film adds to it 5 stars
1/16/03 Bill everything a movie should be...the acting was phenominal 5 stars
1/15/03 nick2k didnt need to see busta though. 5 stars
1/14/03 ajay I can't say it enough, "Fuckin' Awsome!" 5 stars
1/12/03 Uncle Salty Liotta and Patric were on thier game from frame one. Excellent. 5 stars
1/12/03 Mr Math Hard-hitting stuff, Patric used right. 5 stars
1/12/03 Snake MASTER-PIECE! 5 stars
1/07/03 Flounder I guess I am in the minority here but this film sucked big time 1 stars
1/07/03 Ted Knutson Incredible. A must see for the discerning film watcher. 5 stars
1/01/03 Jesse the Movie Ventura This was a nicely told typical story. Well worth the drive to the Arclight in Hollywood. 5 stars
12/31/02 Don Great.............. 5 stars
12/25/02 Mason Really Good 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  20-Dec-2002 (R)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast