Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Clips: STREET KINGS Film Review

Republished with permission from Creative Screenwriting:

Hell-A Story

Street Kings

Screenplay by James Ellroy and Kurt Wimmer and Jamie Moss
Story by James Ellroy

LAPD Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is a vodka-guzzling, crime scene-falsifying cynic whose ex-partner, an Internal Affairs snitch, gets gunned down. Ludlow launches his own investigation and is forced to acknowledge that his colleagues' corruption, even that of his friend Captain Wander (Forest Whitaker), may be different than his own; Ludlow's tactics are brutal but rarely self-serving. He keeps the rest of us safe by doing what no one else has the stomach to do. Ellroy (novelist of L.A. Confidential), Wimmer, and Moss's testosterone-soaked, gritty screenplay contains clever twists and a few moments of much-needed humor, such as when Ludlow is demoted to the complaints desk. However, Homicide Detective Diskant's (Chris Evans) motivation for risking his life and career to help Ludlow is never satisfactorily explained, and the dialogue is occasionally failed by the actors. Reeves is unable to convey sarcasm, which robs his speeches of their bite, and several scenes devolve into incomprehensible screaming matches (David Ayer's director commentary acknowledges that Whitaker "blew his voice out"). Other extras include a featurette on the screenwriting process (unfortunately minus Ellroy) and a driving tour of the Rampart Division of Los Angeles, guided by Ayer (who wrote Training Day) and Jaime Fitzsimons, a former LAPD Detective Sergeant turned technical advisor.
- Sarah Skilton

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