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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 12 July 2005
I am a big fan of Ray Liotta, and found Jason Patric giving an honourable performance in Sleepers. I missed the big screen release and so purchased this film on dvd, not to sure it would be worth the money i paid for it... And i was wrong. I watched Narc twice, and "enjoyed" it even more the second time. The cast performance is simply superb, and the story gripping from start to finish, and you just feel compelled to watch the progression of the investigation led by these two cops brought together for all sorts of wrong reasons until its bitter and disturbing end... Put simply, easily one of the top 5 best cop movie ever made...
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on 27 April 2016
This is a good little neo-noir crime film. What is neo-noir?
New film noir... and what is film noir?... A darker look in to
the dark heart of humanity. A place where good and bad,
live in the shadows, and all that you see, is not all that
is true... Well, that's how I see it. Film noir has a style,
and this movie has this style, and the plot is in the same
film noir style... So you could call this a "classic" film-noir,
which it is... But I will stop here, as there has been millions
of words written about Film-Noir, for me to add any more.
You either like film-noir, or you don't. I fall into the "like"
category. Having said all the above, this is a good crime
movie, with very good cinema-photography. Nuff said...
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on 1 September 2003
This is a little gem of a film thats just come out on DVD. Its a relatively low budget film of the type that relies on its plot and shooting to produce a fantastic film.
Its stars Jason Patric as a former Narcotics detective (Nick Tellis) whos career came to an abrupt end but now, brought back to work because of his contacts worked up as his 2 years as a NARC detective. He teams up with Henry Oak (Ray Liotta) to solve the death of if Micheal Calvess "a rookie cop killed under mysterious circumstances".
Liottas character Oak is played so well as the renegade cop who goes against the rule book and will stop at nothing to avenge his friends death (had a few of those before haven’t we?).
The plot develops over the 101 minutes of this film with some twists that you can see coming if you follow the clues through out the film. These are presented in a in your face way as Tellis discovers them, its up to you notice them and fit them together. Its not the kinda of 'oh my god how did I miss that' sixth sense twist but good none the less.
Looking through the credits I couldn't help but notice Tom Cruise is the Executive Producer and its a Cruise/Wagner film.
Written and directed by Joe Carnahan, watch out for more films by this guy if this ones anything to go by.
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2004
Very rarely am I shocked by a film, revolted maybe, or just plain sickened, but the opening moments of Narc are genuinely powerful, disturbing and compelling. The tone is set for a film of rare quality, where the main characters are unusually human and consequently fragile. The cinematography is also very clever, with a kind of bleached out brightness to everything filmed outside, and a contrary rich darkness to all the indoor photography which really reinforced the sense of danger relating to the work the characters were involved with. Ray Liotta acts superbly, and plays a man on the edge flawlessly, you won't regret seeing this film, although if you're not a fan of the visceral, you might not enjoy this one.
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Narc is written and directed by Joe Carnahan. It stars Ray Liotta, Jason Patric, Chi McBride, Busta Rhymes and Richard Chevolleau. Music is scored by Cliff Martinez and cinematography by Alex Nepomniaschy.

After being suspended from the Detroit police force following an undercover drug bust gone horribly wrong, undercover narcotics officer Nick Tellis (Patric) is coerced back into active duty to see if he can help crack the case of a mysteriously slain fellow officer. Paired with the victim's volatile ex-partner, Henry Oak (Liotta), Tellis tries to hold it together as the case grows ever more complex the deeper he gets.

Don't tune into this one if you want cartoon action and good cop/bad cop laughs, this is a perpetual downer, stripped to the bone, it's a portrait of damaged people in a shabby part of Detroit. The investigation is standard formula stuff, but it's with the characterisations, and the attention to detail of said characters, that lifts this to near classic status. Grit and grime rule the day, with the violence never gratuitous and pulsing with intensity. The mystery element of the case is strong, we constantly wonder what happened as we trawl through the avenues of red herrings and streets populated with scummy characters, but nicely Carnahan has us primarily concerned with what happens to Tellis and Oak as opposed to the slain copper they are investigating. Carnahan breaks free from the sub-Tarrantino mimicry taunts that had landed his way previously, to produce a daring film visually, with kinetic hand held camera work, split-screens and washed out colours, all aiding the narrative, keeping this always as a gripping tale of substance.

It's not perfect, the wife is too standard, some loose ends dangle from the finale, but backed by two exemplary performances from Liotta and Patric, both never better, Narc goes way above cliché to hold in a grip throughout. 8/10
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on 23 January 2012
This is an important film which succeeds on many levels, none more so than it's portrayal of characters that are much more than the usual 2 dimensional cops we see so often in the genre. Patric and Liotta are to be commended for their unflinching and honest performances and director Joe Carnahan skillfully blends the relentless action with a realistic insight into the pressures law enforcement has on the private lives of its exponents. As director william Friedkin (French Connection, The Excorcist) hails in one of the DVD extras, this film will surely be regarded as a classic by those who care about cinema. See it.
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on 22 November 2008
Narc is an excellent exposition of the drugs underworld and how the margins of narcotics undercover police are blurred with the junkies that they stalk. Nick tellis (Jason Patric) is a Narcotics Cop suspended after a pregnant woman was accidentally shot whilst he was chasing a drug dealer in an amazing openning sequence. He is given a reprieve if he can use his undercover drug dealer links to find the killer of a fellow narcotics cop Michael Calvess who was shot in mysterious circumstances during a drug deal.
His wife is none too happy about his reinstatement and initially his work is merely paper related. He notices Lt Henry Oak ( a superb Ray Liotta) 's name cropping up on transcripts. He is assigned to work with Oak, formerly Calvess's partner on the case.Liotta is simply outstanding as a wolfishly begoateed leviathan who takes no prisoners in a dangerous world.The closer Tellis gets to the truth of the case, the more walls rise to thwart him.
Narc looks at the underworld of the drug dealer and the drug addled and how, like Odysseus to the Sirens, the cops themselves often became junkies. Tellis shockingly discovered that his valourous slain colleague not only was a junkie but may have blown his cover resulting in the shoot out at the openning of the film.
This is like the leaner, grittier low budget of what the remake of Miami Vice hinted at. Instead it became too pre occupied with dodgy perms and slick music.
Director Joe Carnahan was spotted to be a great talent by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner and was originally cast to direct War of the Worlds. Unfortunately It fell through but had The Cruiser stuck to his guns, then that film might not have been the pile of dung that it became. Alas sometimes, Less is more!
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on 2 September 2003
NARC was an independant film made on a budget of about a million dollars. Halfway through shooting, the budget had already ran out. Ray Liotta, probably the cast member with the biggest commercial clout, lended a hand in trying to raise new funds. At one point, the film looked like it was going to fall apart. Another promising story, left out in the rain, half untold. Luckily, for those priveleged to fall upon or discover NARC, this did not happen.
Primarily, NARC is a straight up cop film. Too detectives, each with their own clouded past are put on investigation together to find out the murderer of another police detective. As ever, finding the truth proves close to impossible as a web of deceit and lies unthreads. Sounding familiar so far......yep, well this is the turning point. NARC is not a standard cop thriller. It has all the characteristics of one, and yet so much more. The filming is superb. The outside Detroit shots (actually mostly filmed in toronto) are all dictated by a cool, murky emotionless hue of blue. In contrast, the interiors are warm oranges and reds. However, as the storyline becomes more blurred even the safe havens seem to lose their colour. The oranges are washed out and replaced by greens, colder colours.
The cutting in the film is also excellent. It is hard to describe elements without giving too much away. Part of the capture of this film is its raw energy and pace. You are gripped from start to finish. Sometimes you want to turn away, you wish you could, but you can't. Credit for this has to go to the two lead performances. Liotta (goodfellas) and Patrick (bad boys - he's come far) exzude screen presence. Liotta is terrifying as the dominant, agressive oak on the brink of exploding in every scene - unpredictable and powerful. Patrick captures the screen as the more subdued cop, gradually undertaking a character change that will affect his life forever.
If you happen to fall upon this film, please do yourself a great favour and buy it. This is a great piece of cinema. In todays movie world, where the screen is dominated by poorly acted, mass produced, big budget popcorn eye candy it is refreshing and optimistic to see a director with real flare and integrity making thoughtful and moving pictures. Maybe, there still is hope for the film format. If there is, this proves it. long live independant film production.
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on 9 October 2003
This is a no nonsense straight from the hip cop movie the like of which hasn't been seen since L.A Confidential. If you thought Training day was the real thing look somewhere else, this aint no walk in the park. The moral amiguity of both characters isn't as clear cut as rookie and mentor and Ray Liotta and Jason Patric both deserved nominations for their performances. This shows like Serpico the transformation and the degredation of undercover policemen, but in this the cops ARE addicts of one thing or another, be it drugs or redemtion. Joe Carnahan has utilised all the tools of his trade to make this film ( Just listen to the commentry) you will be noticing things in this film everytime you watch it. And the ending as one reviewer put it on this page isn't a go figure ending it's just as simple and as clear cut as it is and therefore even more heartbreaking. The private lives are filmed in bright day glo colours which brings warmth and the street scenes are filmed in washed out blues but it isn't just the cinematography that spells these characters lives out or tries to define them it's an all round superb effort from everyone. This is a film ( IF YOU'VE GOT ANY SENSE OR TASTE) that will linger long in the memory, Christ! even Billy Friedkin gets his own fifteen minute featurette telling you how much he loves it. Go see it, rent it, or buy it now!!!
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on 16 June 2005
This film has a very powerful gripping start. The rest of the film is just as good. This is a must see as i beleive this is one of the all time best films. Its very much an action packed thriller, based on the life of a narcotics officer with the things he has undergo whilst undercover but the whole film has a sub-plot with a great twist in the end.
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