Cop Land (1997)

DailyView: Day 101, Movie 170

James Mangold has had a solid career as a director of some really awesome movies. Logan, Ford v. Ferrari among the best of his list. The film for today in the DailyView joins these classics as a fantastic film, Cop Land.

There was a top notch cast in Cop Land, with Sylvester Stallone leading the way in one of his career best performances. The cast also included Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapaport, Janeane Garofalo, John Spencer, Edie Falco, Peter Berg, Noah Emmerich, and Cathy Moriarty.

Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) was the sheriff of a small town in New Jersey called Garrison, a suburb that is being populated by police officers and their families. Freddy, who always wanted to be on the police force but could not because of a hearing disability, had been walking through his life, keeping his head down and unintentionally turning a blind eye to the corruption going on around him.

Things began to change one night when police officer Murray “Superboy” Babitch became involved in a racial motivated shooting, things started going wild. With the aid of cop Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), Babitch faked his own death by jumping off a bridge and goes into hiding in Garrison.

However, pressure from Internal Affairs officer Moe Tilden (Robert DeNiro) and other powerful forces tried to get Ray to take care of the Babitch problem permanently. Tilden approached Freddy for help, but Freddy turned him down. Still, Freddy’s guilt began to eat away at him and he decided that he needed to do something.

Cop Land is a strong ensemble cast with some hard-nosed performances. The corruption in the town went deep but the characters feel very real. Each character showed their involvement in the corruption, whether it was deeply entrenched to turning away. Cop Land showed how easily it is for good men and women to go down a path of darkness and corrupt their souls.

There are a few racial bits involved here, but they are not the main focus of the movie. However, their inclusion here is not accidental and show how much of a problem exists within some of the structures of our society.

Excellent crime drama with a group of characters who are morally grey and fascinating to watch.

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