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NYC Cops Are Human Beings
on August 7, 2007
Almost 3 hours long and worth every minute. As great a cops and mafia film as there are, even comparable to the Godfather saga (I & II). Danny Ciello is a policeman hero, though technically he may be a criminal. These kind of police are the only people that stand between the comfortable beaurocracy class of lawyers and politicians and the jungle of drugadicts and all sorts of criminals. They do the dirty job the talkers won't do but appreciate as long as they themselves don't get caught (anything comparable to Plato's Republic, maybe?)
The question the film poses to the audience is: Do you approve -or not- this kind of police behavior? I say that the law was made for man, and not the other way round. We mustn't miss the aim of the law, lest we get entangled in our own web and become pharisaic.
This is another great Sidney Lumet classic, beautiful and entertaining; it makes you think over and over again about the issues exposed here. It has a great script. The leading actor does superbly. Directed talentedly, detachedly, not too overdramatic.
The thing I like about Lumet's films (the best director in the second half of the 20th century) is that he talks about human nature. His films are not just stories, things that happen as part of a plot. They are little revelations of the human soul. They talk about who more than what. And it's whom we really care for, isn't it? The issues are eternal: love, friendship, faithfulness, resilience, repentence, redemption... everything that separates us from animals, and everything is put to the test, the test of real life situations: where the rubber meets the road (as the great Christian Vernon McGee would say).
A classic but also a great modern film. I recommend Lumet's other great film, besides "12 Angry men", which is "The Hill".