starring Ray Liotta, Jason Patric, Chi McBride, Busta Rhymes
written and directed by Joe Carnahan
by Walter Chaw Anchored by a powerhouse performance from Ray Liotta, Joe Carnahan's Narc is a police procedural buddy psychodrama that reminds a great deal of Sidney Lumet's underappreciated Q&A. The first film mounted in part by Liotta's new production company, the film is fond of the kind of fluid tracking shots popularized by Martin Scorsese (and Goodfellas, as it happens) and has a crackling ear for dialogue that sadly doesn't translate into a gift for monologue. Still, there's a rough intelligence and visceral edge to the film--hewn from its tough-talking vernacular and graphic violence--that feels great in an era where both sides of the ratings divide: PG and R, are hell-bent on edging into the grey PG-13 arena where mental adolescents and the easily-diverted play. Narc works largely because it's a mature film for adults, smoothing over some of the rough spots where the film begins to lose itself in a labyrinth of flashbacks and surprise revelations.