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Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Narc is a tough film, with tough scenes, tough acting, and tough direction. It’s a film about men, men who commit crimes, and the men who are committed to bringing them to justice. Narc is also a tender film, with emotional scenes and a surprising focus on family connections and the effects of violence. It’s a film about women and about children, and about the men without whom the family unit would be incomplete.  Narc is, in my opinion, something not far short of a masterpiece, one of the most quietly compelling, utterly convincing and thematically wide-ranging cop films to have been released in many a moon.  Jason Patric stars as a cop who is brought back from forced retirement and saddled with the responsibility of trying to discover the events leading up to the death of a respected colleague. Helping him is the dead man’s ex-partner, played with ferocious intensity by Ray Liotta, an uncompromising hard-boiled borderline psycho who may have had more to do with the murder than he suggests. The gruesome twosome patrol the gloomy, dilapidated streets of Detroit (this is a much grittier presentation of the city than in the lacklustre 8 Mile), doling out their own brand of brutal justice in an attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Narc starts off with a dizzying chase scene filmed on handheld camera, resulting in the shooting of an unarmed pregnant woman. And it gets harsher as it goes on. This isn’t the easygoing world of The Bill, where endings are happy and criminals brought to justice – this is a world where the police are as dangerous as the criminals, confessions are gained with a gun, and little is as straight forward as it appears.  Aided by powerful turns from Liotta and Patric, Narc is everything the flabby and hysterical Training Day wanted to be, but couldn’t.

Narc is one of the most powerful police dramas you are ever likely to see, and one that was under-advertised by its wary distributor. Now, thankfully, you have a chance to see one of the best films of 2003 on a big screen very near you.

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)