Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Sundance: Brooklyn's Finest Is Tragic Opera

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 18, 2009 at 3:01AM

Arriving at Sundance weighted with expectations, Brooklyn's Finest is a creative noble failure, one of those damn-the-torpedoes passion projects that flounders on its own ambition. Ex-Warners exec Basil Iwanyk developed the script by Michael C. Martin and brought in director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), but when Warner Bros. passed, the filmmakers raised financing through Avi Lerner's Millenium Films. Fuqua made the movie on location in Brooklyn for something under $20 million with a strong cast: Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin and Ethan Hawke, who is stellar.
0

BROOK

Arriving at Sundance weighted with expectations, Brooklyn's Finest is a creative noble failure, one of those damn-the-torpedoes passion projects that flounders on its own ambition. Ex-Warners exec Basil Iwanyk developed the script by Michael C. Martin and brought in director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), but when Warner Bros. passed, the filmmakers raised financing through Avi Lerner's Millenium Films. Fuqua made the movie on location in Brooklyn for something under $20 million with a strong cast: Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin and Ethan Hawke, who is stellar.

The movie, shot by Patrick Murghuia, is stunning to look at. Fuqua takes full advantage of Brooklyn and his actors, weaving three stories of three very different cops all heading for disaster. It's an unrelievedly grim portrait of the world, without a ray of hope. The movie played to a mixed response, with both hisses and applause after the finale. (There is some discussion of serious trimming of the 125-minute movie, including the ending, which was not the one originally intended by the writer.) Every buyer was there, from Fox Searchlight (which won't deal with its SAG waiver issue until it has a film it wants to buy), Overture and Summit to Roadside, Senator and Miramax.

2612967889-image-released-sundance-institute-wesley-snipes-don-cheadle-shown-scene

Spike Lee, feeling chipper about his first screening of his film version of the Broadway show Passing Strange (IFC is circling), turned up at the Brooklyn's Finest screening in a white fur hat to "represent Brooklyn," he said, and support "my man Wesley Snipes." His Jungle Fever star, who has suffered career turmoil, is fine in Brooklyn's Finest, and was pleased that Lee turned up. It's Snipes' second Sundance, he said; he came back in 1997 to support Mike Figgis's One Night Stand. At the after-party when a flack pressed Snipes to pose for a picture holding Robert Redford's new Sundance brand pink drink, Snipes asked if he could taste it first. That's Sundance in a nutshell.

At the Q & A, Fuqua said, "It's Greek Tragedy, opera. More police die from killing themselves than die in the line of duty. I thought I would explore that." Meanwhile the director is prepping two possible next projects: a biopic of New York mobster and FBI informant Gregory Scarpa, and Escobar, about the Columbian cocaine trafficker.

CAA and WMA are selling Brooklyn's Finest; I suspect buyers will check out more films before circling back. Sales will probably heat up at the end of the weekend.

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Festivals, Sundance


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.