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Film / Brooklyn's Finest

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Brooklyn's Finest is a 2010 American crime film starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes. It is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and written by Michael C. Martin, a one-time subway flagger from East New York. It was the first film to sell at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, for a sales price of "under 5 million dollars." The film was released in North America on March 5, 2010.

The film tells the story of three police officers operating in the Brooklyn Projects. They are:

  • Detective Salvatore "Sal" Procida (Hawke): He lives a life on the edge, leading armed police assaults on gangs, ever tempted by the fortune in drug money left unguarded at the crime scenes. He desperately needs to move house, as the fungal infection in the walls of his current house is harming his pregnant wife.
  • Officer Eddie Dugan (Gere): A senior beat cop who has one week until retirement. What with his lousy record and not a single friend left on the force, he has little to look forward to (he starts every morning with a shot of whiskey, whilst pointing a gun to his own head).
  • Detective Clarence "Tango" Butler (Cheadle): An undercover cop who has infiltrated a gang working out of the projects. Pressured by his asshole superiors, the fear of being ratted, and his own feelings of camaraderie towards a gang leader he has befriended.

This film provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Caz the drug dealer is more likable than many of the "good" guys.
  • Anyone Can Die: Out of the four lead characters, Eddie is the only one who survives.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Pretty much the premise about the cops themselves.
  • Big Applesauce: New York to a tee and then some.
  • Becoming the Mask: A strange case in Butler/Tango. Clarence Butler seems to fear this happening if he stays undercover. This is evident when he tells his superior how he considered killing two New Jersey State Troopers during a traffic stop and regretting not doing so once he found out about the police robbery/murder. This is why he pleads for a desk job. Since he ends up getting killed by another officer while in the midst of carrying out street justice, it seems he may have indeed become the mask, though he was trying to hide behind the badge.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Eddie survives the violent shootout and retires with dignity. Sal provides the money for his wife and kids, but said money was his life insurance, Clarence dies, but claims his revenge.
    • Its never revealed if Sal's family got any life insurance, and since he was killed in the midst of his own robbery and not in the line of duty, his family will probably not get any police benefits unless this is covered up.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The central theme of the film. Many of the "villains" are equally or more sympathetic than the people who stay on the right side of the law, while there are quite a few honest and dedicated officers who only end up making things worse (such as Ronny's attempt to stop Sal leading him to kill Tango. The two eager young officers who shadow Duggan also end up coming to ruin in different ways.). Then there are people like Agent Smith, who is on the side of "good" in the sense that she's committed to putting away drug dealers, but who is at the same time a massive Jerkass and racist.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Both Clarence and Sal have this in them when they really get pissed off.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There’s not one scene where there’s one not dropped.
  • Crapsack World: The Projects.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Eddie strangles one of the kidnappers to death with a zip tie.
  • Death by Irony: Tango. At the beginning of the movie, he complains that he's tired of being undercover because other cops mistake him for being a thug simply for being "a black man in a black car." At the end of the film, he gets killed for that very same reason: Rosario accidentally thought he was a thug shooting another person in the middle of the street, so he shot him to death. For added irony, Rosario had earlier objected to the racist jokes made by his poker buddies with a reminder that his own wife is black.
  • Death by Materialism: Sal, to the point where his death is almost symbolic. He gets shot in the back while he's busy trying to steal as much money as possible from a drug dealer's apartment, oblivious to everything around him. And then he slowly bleeds out on the floor, with a pile of money scattered around his body.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Sal's death. Man Man, a lookout, sees him walking into an apartment complex, then a few minutes later, he randomly shows up and kills Sal. And then he runs away. Diabolus ex Nihilo much?
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Amusingly enough, Duggan doesn't get to run off with Chantal, a hooker who appears to be his only friend. Made all the more amusing by the character's actor being Richard Gere of Pretty Woman fame.
  • Dirty Cop: The entire premise.
  • Downer Ending: In the alternate ending, Eddie kills himself soon after, and it turns out that Caz faked his death.
  • Driven to Suicide: In an alternate ending, Eddie kills himself while fishing.
  • Karma Houdini: Man Man, the man who shot and killed Sal runs away and presumably disappears before Rosario or any other cops even find out who he is.
  • Killer Cop: Sal, in the very first scene, shoots a criminal and steals his money. He then later kills some drug dealers to do the same thing before being shot dead himself.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Sal, to the point of becoming a Tragic Villain.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Sal and Ronny. Sal's already in desperation trying to support five kids when he learns his wife is pregnant with twins; Ronny, while well-meaning, is unsympathetic to that as a problem as he and his wife long for kids but cannot have them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rosario, upon discovering the man he's just shot and killed is a fellow police officer.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Tango's superiors, particularly Agent Smith, are so awful to him that they push him closer and closer to Becoming the Mask.
    • Rosario's Unwanted Assistance, while he is behaving completely reasonably and compassionately, nevertheless makes things worse. First when he interrupts Sal during a raid and prevents him from stealing the drug dealers' money cache, which leads to Sal's desperate raid at the end. And second, when Rosario follows Sal during the final act, he ends up intervening in Tango and Red's fight and killing Tango in the mistaken belief that he's stopping a criminal.
  • The Oner: Towards the climax of the film, all the key police characters in the film are in one long scene, shot with no cuts. As Sal arrives to the project tower block to see the informants, he waits to cross the road as the van with the missing woman being pimped out passes him, followed by Eddie tailing the van in his car. At the other side of the road, we see Tango getting out of his car. All the characters are oblivious to each other however.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Even after Eddie shoots a man in the chest, he still has enough power to attack and nearly kill Eddie. Truth in Television though, as some suspects have shrugged off seemingly fatal gunshot wounds.
  • Pac Man Fever: This is averted, as some of the drug dealers are shown playing Mercenaries on a PS2.
  • Papa Wolf: Sal goes absolutely berserk when his poker buddies behave poorly around his kids.
  • Rabid Cop: The cops themselves had lost their sense of morality by the time the film begins.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The kidnapped girls that Eddie rescues at the end were highly implied to be sex slaves as their kidnappers-sex slavers were using drugs to turn them out and make them submissive. Eddie understandably disgusted calls the both of them “sick fucks”.
  • Retirony: Deliberately averted by Eddie, who starts the film with two weeks before retirement and has no ambition except to keep his head down and avoid any trouble, to the point where a rookie who's assigned to him calls him out for being a coward. Inverted when said rookie is unceremoniously killed off screen in his first week on the job, while Eddie is the only one of the three main characters to survive to the end.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Detective Butler aka "Tango" guns down an already wounded Red in the street, emptying a whole clip into him (with a Jericho 941 no less.) Then pops another clip in to empty it as well. He's shot before he could though.
  • Trigger-Happy: Downplayed by Sal. Special mention goes to the rookie cop, who holds a gun on a teen's head and ends up accidentally firing, leaving the teen deaf.