The sons of a New York City cop, director and screenwriter Gavin O’Connor and his twin brother, producer Gregory O’Connor, possess a special understanding of the family ties, both personal and professional, that bind police officers. In creating Pride and Glory, the brothers looked to tell a story about the New York City Police Department and examine the alternative universe in which its officers exist. Edward Norton plays Detective Ray Tierney, whose investigation of a police homicide involving his own family becomes a serious test of loyalty. There are no easy answers and whatever choice he makes will inevitably hurt the people he loves most. Colin Farrell plays Ray’s brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan, who straddles a dangerous line as a cop working both sides of the law and whose actions set the story in motion. Farrell, who put much of his weight behind getting the film made, said he understood the frustration of cops who are fighting an uphill battle, who are getting paid not a lot of money to put their lives on the line every day. Gavin O’Connor emphasizes that, despite the characters and setting of the film, the police have no monopoly on closing ranks against those on the outside, especially in the face of corruption. He notes there have been many examples in major institutions apart from law enforcement, including those in governments and big business.
The film begins with four cops in their precinct turning up dead and the evidence pointing to one of their own as the perpetrator. The proud father, Francis Tierney Sr. (Jon Voight), is determined to protect the family name while his two sons must decide what is most important – their pride or the truth. The drama follows the course of events after the killings until the truth is revealed and “justice” is served. While Pride And Glory does have its moments – most of the best of them provided by Colin Farrell, it must be said – it ends up being the same old story: good cop/bad cop, brother against brother, choosing between the law and protecting your own. A very male oriented story with more swear words than Roddy Doyle at the height of his powers, Pride And Glory is a mostly over violent family drama whose ending is telegraphed well in advance and whose main saving grace is, as always, the city of New York itself and a skyline more inspiring than much of what happens to the film’s characters.