Cop Land


Cop Land
Cop Land

Cop Land promotional poster
Directed by James Mangold
Written by James Mangold
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Harvey Keitel
Ray Liotta
Robert De Niro
Music by Howard Shore
Editing by Craig McKay
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) August 15, 1997 (1997-08-15)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $44,862,187

Cop Land is a 1997 American drama film written and directed by James Mangold. It features an ensemble cast including Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta.

Contents

Plot

In the fictional town of Garrison, New Jersey, located across the Hudson River from New York City, a large number of residents are NYPD officers.

One night, the car of cop Murray Babitch (Rapaport), nephew of Lt. Ray Donlan (Keitel), is sideswiped on the George Washington Bridge by a couple of African-American teens. Thinking they had fired at him, Babitch fires back and the teens are killed in the ensuing crash.

Worried about a possible racial incident, Donlan's solution is to fake a suicide, pretending that Babitch jumped off the bridge. When a corrupt cop, Jack Rucker (Patrick), is caught trying to plant a weapon to justify the shooting, other corrupt officers, including Detective Leo Crasky (Spencer) and Frank Lagonda (Nascarella), fear Babitch will resurface and testify to Internal Affairs.

NYPD IA investigator Moe Tilden (De Niro) asks Garrison's Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Stallone) to provide information on the corrupt cops who live in his town. Though they work in a different city, Freddy views them as brothers, and is reluctant to betray them, derailing Tilden's investigation.

Freddy is secretly in love with Liz Randone (Sciorra), whose life he once saved in a near-drowning that cost him the hearing in one ear. The deafness prevented Freddy from joining the NYPD like so many others in town, including the man Liz eventually married, Joey Randone (Berg).

Although the cover-up at first seems successful, Donlan is told by Patrolmen's Defense Association President Vincent Lassaro (Vincent) that without a body, the case will not stay cold. Donlan reluctantly decides that his nephew should be killed. Babitch is tipped off by his Aunt Rose (Moriarty) and escapes. He goes to Freddy's house looking for help, but when he sees Freddy's friend (and fellow NYPD cop) Gary Figgis (Liotta), flees.

When Freddy realizes his mistake, he returns to Tilden, but is angrily told that the case was blown by his failure to co-operate earlier. As he is shown the door, Freddy steals several NYPD files on the case. Back in his office, he studies the files and realizes the extent of his friend's corruption. He returns home to find Figgis packing to leave, not wanting to be further involved.

Freddy tells his Deputies what he is doing. Deputy Cindy Betts (Garofalo) has decided to leave Garrison, frustrated by the New York cops having turned the town into their own personal fiefdom. Freddy also finds out that Figgis burned down his own house, for the insurance money, causing the death of his girlfriend.

After Randone is killed on duty, leaving Liz a widow, Freddy becomes more determined. He persuades Rose to reveal where her nephew is hiding. Freddy finds him and takes him to Garrison's jail, where his Deputy Geisler (Emmerich) leaves to tend to his pregnant wife.

Freddy attempts to take Babitch to New York to turn over to Tilden, but they are ambushed, Freddy is injured, and Babitch is taken. Knowing that Babitch has been taken to Donlan's house to be killed, Freddy prepares to take them on by himself. A shootout follows, with Freddy shooting Lagonda and Rucker. Freddy is shot in the back by Crasky, but is saved from by the arrival of Figgis, who kills Crasky. Freddy and Figgis continue into the house where Babitch is trying to escape through a window. Ray sneaks up behind Freddy, but before he can fire, Figgis shoots at Ray but misses. Freddy turns and fatally shoots Ray.

Later, after the scandal has been investigated and indictments handed down, Freddy, who has recovered, is seen looking at the New York skyline from across the Hudson. Deputy Geisler calls to him, and Freddy goes back to work.

Cast

Production

De Niro and Keitel had worked together on three previous films, Mean Streets in 1973, Taxi Driver in 1976, and Falling in Love in 1984. Due to the film's modest budget, all of the actors worked for scale. The entire main cast (with the exception of Robert Patrick) and most of the supporting cast, were born or raised in New York. Numerous supporting actors in Cop Land would later appear in The Sopranos, including Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco, Frank Vincent, Robert Patrick, Frank Pellegrino, John Ventimiglia, Robert John Burke, Arthur Nascarella, Bruce Altman, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Herman and Tony Sirico.

John Travolta was offered the role of Freddy but turned it down.

Two melancholy songs from Bruce Springsteen's 1980 album The River, "Drive All Night" and "Stolen Car", along with an effective Howard Shore score, help set the atmosphere.

The movie is based on Mangold's hometown Washingtonville, New York. He grew up in a development called Worley Heights, where many of the residents were NYPD.

Reception

Cop Land had its world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City on August 6, 1997. Some of the film's cast members attended, including Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Annabella Sciorra, Cathy Moriarty and Michael Rapaport.[1]

Stallone's understated performance against type — he gained considerable weight for the role — was praised by critics and he received the Best Actor award at the Stockholm International Film Festival. Cop Land was also screened at the 54th Venice Film Festival in the Midnight line-up.[2] The film was accepted into the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, but Miramax declined the invitation due to re-shoots that were needed for the film, including footage of Stallone 40 pounds heavier.[3]

Critical reaction was generally positive. Based on 59 reviews collected from notable publications by review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an overall approval rating of 71%.[4] Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "There is a rough balance between how long a movie is, how deep it goes and how much it can achieve. That balance is not found in Cop Land and the result is too much movie for the running time".[5] On the other hand, Gene Siskel praised the movie, especially the screenplay, "One to be savored."

In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin felt that,

the strength of Cop Land is in its hard-edged, novelistic portraits, which pile up furiously during the film's dynamic opening scenes... Yet if the price of Mangold's casting ambitions is a story that can't, finally, match its marquee value, that value is still inordinately strong. Everywhere the camera turns in this tense and volatile drama, it finds enough interest for a truckload of conventional Hollywood fare. Whatever its limitations, Cop Land has talent to burn".[6]

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Stallone does a solid, occasionally winning job of going through the motions of shedding his stardom, but the wattage of his personality is turned way down—at times, it's turned down to neutral. And that pretty much describes Cop Land, too. Dense, meandering, ambitious yet jarringly pulpy, this tale of big-city corruption in small-town America has competence without mood or power—a design but not a vision".[7] In her review for the Washington Post, Rita Kempley wrote, "With its redundancy of supporting characters, snarled subplots and poky pace, Cop Land really might have been better off trading the director for a traffic cop".[8] Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers praised Stallone's performance: "His performance builds slowly but achieves a stunning payoff when Freddy decides to clean up his town ... Freddy awakes to his own potential, and it's exhilarating to watch the character and the actor revive in unison. Nearly down for the count in the movie ring, Stallone isn't just back in the fight. He's a winner".[9] In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle also liked Stallone's work: "His transformation is more than a matter of weight. He looks spiritually beaten and terribly sad. He looks like a real person, not a cult-of-the-body film star, and he uses the opportunity to deliver his best performance in years".[10]


Soundtrack

Cop Land Miramax Motion picture
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released 1997
Genre Soundtrack
Length 40:11
Label Miramax Motion picture

The score by Howard Shore was performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra released as a Cop Land Miramax Motion picture in 1997. The soundtrack was released on CD contained twelve tracks with a runtime of 40:11 minutes.[11][12]

All music composed by Howard Shore.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "All Dressed Up In Blue"   4:18
2. "Garrison, NJ"   1:44
3. "Yellow Betray Blue"   3:31
4. "Local Boy Saves Drowning Teen"   3:03
5. "Mashed Potatoes Don't Mean Gravy"   2:21
6. "The Sheriff Of Cop Land"   2:37
7. "Pool Of Crimson"   4:37
8. "The Diagonal Rule"   4:25
9. "Across The River"   4:58
10. "Big Blue Pow Wow"   2:28
11. "Without Looking At The Cards"   4:06
12. "One Police Plaza"   2:03
Total length:
40:11

Home video

Cop Land: Director's Cut was released to DVD in June 2004. Features include the original 112-minute cut, restoration of deleted scenes and scenes extended, addition of New York band Blue Öyster Cult's "Burnin' for You" to the soundtrack and a new audio commentary with James Mangold, Sylvester Stallone, Robert Patrick and producer Cathy Konrad. Also included are a "Shootout Storyboard Sequence" and "The Making of an Urban Western" documentary.

On the DVD, there are two deleted scenes that primarily show the racism in the town of Garrison. One scene involves all the resident Police Officers chasing down a pair of black motorists and the other shows Heflin's Deputy pointing out that the majority of the tickets issued in Garrison go to black motorists on charges that suggest racial profiling. The movie itself implies a racist undercurrent in Garrison as all the NYPD Officers who live there are White, a black Internal Affairs Detective Carson implies that the cops who live in Garrison are racist to a black Patrolman named Russell who is at the scene of the bridge shootout, a black couple who drives through Garrison are unjustly given a ticket by one of Heflin's Deputies and blacks are implied by the Officers in different ways as "certain people" who are scared of Garrison and as an "outside element" that would present a crime problem to Garrison.

Legacy

Stallone stated on the Opie and Anthony Show in 2008 that the film "hurt" his career and that he had trouble getting roles for eight years, due to the film's failure and the mix of views on whether he was leaving action movies for more character-driven content. Stallone has described this as "the beginning of the end, for about eight years".[13]

The title of the film was later used as a title of a mission in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, where the main character Tommy Vercetti is voiced by Ray Liotta.

References

  1. ^ Roman, Monica (August 14, 1997). "A party in Cop land". Variety: pp. 27. 
  2. ^ Rooney, David (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land replaces Empire in lineup". Variety: pp. 39. 
  3. ^ Busch, Anita M (May 26, 1997 – June 1, 1997). "He Ain't Heavy ... At Least for the Reshoot". Variety: pp. 5. 
  4. ^ http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/cop_land/?name_order=asc
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970815/REVIEWS/708150302/1023. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land: Sly Holds His Own". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/copland-film-review.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  7. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,289071,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  8. ^ Kempley, Rita (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land: No Muscle". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/review97/coplandkemp.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  9. ^ Travers, Peter (December 8, 2000). "Cop Land". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/5948879/review/5948880/cop_land. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  10. ^ LaSalle, Mick (August 15, 1997). "Good Cop Bad Cop". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1997/08/15/DD36695.DTL. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  11. ^ http://www.moviemusic.com/soundtrack/M00371/copland/
  12. ^ http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1457601/a/Cop+Land.htm
  13. ^ Opie and Anthony Show, 1/17/08, Stallone interview.

External links


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