Officer Down (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars


Officer Down has a distinguished cast of veteran actors capable of elevating standard material into something from its mediocre roots. Stephen Dorff has toiled with stardom for nearly 25 years and yet never attained the leading man status that befitted the likes of Christian Slater. Dorff has had a rough time finding mainstream success but has quietly racked up quite a resume on the qt. In addition to working with Sophia Coppola in the dreamy Somewhere, Dorff has also shared the screen with acting luminaries William Dafoe and Wesley Snipes.

Officer Down is a serious police drama that mixes the existentialism of American Beauty with the nihilism of Sidney Lumet’s under appreciated 1997 gem Night falls on Manhattan. This is a tidy bit of storytelling by emerging talent Brian A. Miller (All Things Fall Apart), well cast and briskly paced the movie gets the job done with little in the way of excessive plotting or violence. The first scene sets the tone with an intense standoff, between detective Callahan and a gun-toting perp. After a physical altercation between the two men it is discovered this armed sexual deviant is in fact a detective responsible for six rapes in the area.

Callahan is appalled to discover that the case is being buried to avoid a national scandal and possible lawsuits. The accused man publicly blames the police psychiatrist for not taking his pleas for meds seriously. Soon word comes down from superiors in the prescient to make this problem go away. It looks as though an admitted rapist/cop is going to walk away Scott free.

Briskly paced action-thriller makes good use of its stars and location shooting adds to the gritty tone of the story. Disenfranchised cop movies are fairly common place and Officer Down falls victim to many clichés inherent to the sub-genre. Some actions and decision made by the main character make his transition to redemptive soul a little hard to believe initially, but Dorff handles the complex role with typical understated authority.

Director: Brian A Miller
Stars: Stephen Dorff, Dominic Purcell, Stephen Lang

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