"Cop Land" (1997, James Mangold)

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by Uncle Jay, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Uncle Jay

    Uncle Jay Member

    Oct 16, 2008
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    1997 was a great year for movies. It's also the year when we got a solid and more different Sylvester Stallone performance.

    Cop Land centers around a bunch of corrupt New York City cops, who all reside in (and pretty much control) a peaceful town called Garrison, NJ (a fictional town, don't go looking for it), right at the Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. Policing the town is a sheriff department of three, led by the very docile Freddy Heflin (Stallone).

    However, these cops aren't just corrupt, they're actually part of a mafia family. In charge of the family in the town of Garrison, is Ray Donlan (Harvey Kietel), who gave Freddy the job as sheriff, due to his very kind nature and controllable attitude...blind to the things Ray is doing. Freddy is also deaf in one ear, due to an accident during his teenage years in saving the love of his life, whom I might add married someone else (yes, a member of Ray's cop family). This handicap is what prevented Freddy from becoming a New York cop, a personal dream of his. Truly befriending Freddy and guiding him is Mike Figgis (Ray Liotta), another "family cop" who at one time was Ray's right hand man, until something happened between them, and now, on a cocaine binge, Figgis wants out and wants nothing to do with any of them.

    Ray's nephew, hero cop 'Superboy' Babidge (Michael Rappaport), gets into a huge unfortunate dilemma, when he kills two black men in, what he thought was self-defense, on the GW Bridge on his way home from an intoxicating evening. Ray decides to fake his nephew's death and hide him, so they can figure things out and keep Internal Affairs away. Only one problem, Freddy realizes 'Superboy' is alive. Also knowing 'Superboy' is alive just on instinct alone, is head of Internal Affairs Moe Tildon (Robert De Niro) who has been working on the "Garrison Case" for sometime.

    Tildon decides to pay Freddy a visit, asking for his help to bring down Ray and his family of cops. Freddy doesn't want to believe that his friends are up to no good, and therefore doesn't bite. But Freddy starts to realize that something indeed stinks in his town. Meanwhile, Ray has been ordered to whack out his own nephew, in fear that 'Superboy' will spill his guts about the family, on top of the fact that faking his death is far-fetched, with no body to prove it. Ray attempts to have him killed. 'Superboy' escapes Ray, and is now hiding somewhere in the town. He pays a visit to Freddy in hopes of help, but gets scared off when he sees the likes of Figgis hangin' in Freddy's house...and goes into hiding.

    Freddy then confronts Tildon and says his ready to play ball, but it's too late, for Tildon was forced to shut the case down for lack of evidence. So now, Freddy is on his own. His mission is to find 'Superboy' and take him in...all of which under the tight watch of a family of mafia cops.

    This here, is your modern day western. Gritty and real. The ending is gangbusters...there are also a bunch a little plot lines that I didn't get into, but I won't give everything away. The acting is top-notch across the board, with Stallone leading with a solid performance, and Ray Liotta is a stand-out in the film.

    Cop Land was severely under appreciated when it was first released. It received mixed reviews, but I think the film was simply misunderstood. Also, Cop Land was re-released on DVD as a Director's Cut, with roughly 15 minutes put back in and re-edited, a much better cut of the film than what was theatrically released.

    Definitely give it a look!

    * * * *

    Internal Affairs cop Moe Tildon (De Niro) meets Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Stallone).

  2. JIMX1975

    JIMX1975 Member

    Jul 13, 2004
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    Burlington, Iowa
    Agreed, great movie. Good review.
  3. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

    Apr 23, 2007
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    I remember that I actually liked the movie a little bit. Not bad at all.
  4. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

    Sep 22, 2005
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    Fouke, AR
    I saw this in the theater during its original run. Under appreciated indeed. Terrific cast. It was cool to see Stallone doing a dramatic role and doing it very well. Haven't seen this in years and will probably pick up the director's cut now that I know one is available. Well written and on the money review, Jay.

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