Everything about Cop Land feels straightforward and simple but that’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, it takes a lot of effort and skill to pull something like this off. This is, in my opinion, one of the best and most underrated thrillers of the nineties. It boasts an incredible cast, authentic story, and simmering atmosphere bound to keep you engaged ’till the very end. Everything is right in the open and yet you simply cannot tell which way is it going to go. If you’re a fan of Police Movies you will have a field day with this one. Mostly because it deals with so many different issues in a natural and unobtrusive way.
While watching Cop Land you will get a feeling that you’re watching something that really happened. The narration really helps with that as it immerses you into this world of blurred lines and abuses of power. And all the little details that are barely noticeable but once you do notice them they put a little smile on your face. For example, in the opening scene Stallone is playing pinball in a cop bar and right behind him is this little sticker. It says Feel Safe Tonight Sleep With A Cop. It’s the little shit like that that’s going to make you love this movie.
We also tackle issues like racism and corruption along with bigger things like the exodus of cops into suburbs. Something that’s been a hot topic these days. You see most of the police officers patrolling the neighborhoods don’t actually live there and Cop Land goes to the very beginnings of this problem. Mostly because it’s set in the seventies, you know, the Serpico time. The characters are complex and feel like real people with faults and virtues.
Freddy Heflin is a slightly deaf and a bit slow sheriff of a small New Jersey community that mostly consists of the policeman. Nothing much happens here and life is good both for Freddy and the rest of the residents. However, in the big city, a lot of things are happening. Especially for the young cop that everybody just calls Superboy. Well, Superboy is about to do something that’s going to send shockwaves across the entire country.
The storytelling here is just so fucking juicy that I still can’t get over it. And I watched this movie at least a dozen times over the last twenty years. I remember how it blew me away back in the nineties when I still thought that there are no bad cops. Same as Bad Lieutenant did also starring Harvey Keitel. Of course, the cast of Cop Land is simply magnificent. Even the supporting actors were phenomenal. Fucking Michael Rapaport as Murray Babitch, it’s enough to say that two years later Rapaport made a comeback in another extremely popular TV series Friends, playing a cop, of course. And he wasn’t even the star of this flick.
The star of this flick was Sylvester Stallone in a role of a lifetime. His subdued and very honest performance here will make you appreciate him more. And I don’t have to talk about Patrick, Liotta and motherfucking Robert De Niro.
Director: James Mangold
Writer: James Mangold
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Peter Berg, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra
Fun Stuff: Sylvester Stallone gained the necessary weight for the role by eating a lot of giant pancakes every day