Do not be deceived; God is not mocked,
for you reap whatever you sow.
Director Gavin O’Connor’s film follows in the familiar tradition of the cop/family movie. Francis Tierney Sr. (Jon Voight) is a chief in the NYPD, whose sons Francis Tierney Jr. (Noah Emmerich) and Ray Tierney (Edward Norton), as well as son-in-law Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell), also have risen in the ranks of the Department. The story begins during a drug bust when four cops under Francis’s command are gunned down in what turns out to be an ambush. Ray is reluctantly brought in to help in the investigation, and it turns out that there is a dirty cop, working in collusion with the crooks, who tipped off the gang about the raid. How all this impacts the various families is the subject of the rest of the film, leading up to a painful decision by Francis of whether or not to follow the truth to its logical outcome, regardless of the cost to his family and the reputation of the Department. This type of story has often been done, but still remains engrossing. Yje strong does of violence and street language will be unsettling to some viewers.
For Reflection/Discussing Spoilers.
1) What cost, even under normal circumstances, do families of police officers pay?
2) What might have first tempted the guilty cop to betray his trust? How might he have justified his decision so that he could live with himself?
3) What do you think of the decisions faced by the two brothers? Do you think their father is any help in the process?
4) What do you think of the remark made by Sandy—” There’s no atoning” ? What does such hopelessness lead to?
5) How do you see St. Paul’s warning worked out in the film? With almost daily news reports of corruption in police, corporate, and political institutions, why do you think people never seem to lean the lesson of the Galatians passage?