Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) is an undercover narcotics officer who is suspended from duty after a drugs bust went wrong. He is offered his job back in return for his help in investigating the murder of Michael Calvess, a narcotics cop murdered when a deal went wrong. Tellis is sent to work with Henry Oak (Ray Liotta) the ex-pertner of Calvess and an old school cop who will do anything to avenge his friend's death. Once both men get to know each others motives they get to work in tracing those responsible, with the line between right and wrong, good and evil, becoming very blurred in the process.
Director Joe Carnahan was restrained by a budget that many would say is impossible to make stylish cinema on, he had just $7m to get his film made, but what we get is one of the best police dramas in decades. I would even go as far to say that this movie leaves Training Day standing, with performances from Liotta and Patric that are just breathtaking. In fact if this movie does not win any major awards it will be a travesty. The film is beautifully paced, highly stylised, brutal and a real edge of your seat thriller. I cannot recommend this film enough, but the open ended finale will annoy those bred on Hollywood movies that wrap everything up in a nice package. You know the twist is coming, but I will eat my shorts if you manage to work it out. Highly recommended.