The Good, the Bad, and the In Between
Dark Blue
Review by Ross Anthony

This is a hard movie to watch. Set in 1992 and aggravating the healing wounds of the LA Riots, "Dark Blue" paints its colors in black and white, before mixing to gray.

Dark Blue Opening with tape of the Rodney King beating, the story of a trio team of white good-ol'-boy cops whose ages span three generations unfolds. The eldest being the most corrupt and the youngest the least. These detectives generally operate on the sensibility that bad guys ought to get punished, even if you unjustly pin some unrelated crime on them, whether or not you beat some innocents to find that information, and with a touch of racism to boot.

Director Ron Shelton does such a great job of making this film seem so real -- as if it's a reenactment -- that, no doubt, your stomach with twist into knots as you watch always on the edge of a wince. Harsh, gritty, grizzly, in both crime and badge-wearing corruption with a perfect pace, solid dialogue, strong cinematography and a grippingly repulsive story to tell. The events are potentially quite upsetting -- especially early on.

While eventually and thankfully the subject matter takes a turn for the much more palatable, the storytelling unfortunately takes a turn for the much more Hollywood. In order to build a pivotal, well-shot, action sequence, the filmmakers opt to drop the respectable believability factor into what seemed like a nose-dive. "Dark Blue" hosts some Oscar-worthy sequences and acting (Kudos to Gleeson and Russell), then dabbles for a moment in "Starsky and Hutch" contrivance. Unbecoming.

In any event, the resolution is quenching. And the title -- very fitting. It's an emotional night at the movies.


"Well, I don't ever want to feel like I did that day.
Take me to the place I love, take me all the way.
I don't ever want to feel like I did that day.
Take me to the place I love, take me all the way.
It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there.
It's hard to believe that I'm all alone.
At least I have her love, the city she loves me.
Lonely as I am, together we cry."

--Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • Dark Blue. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring Kurt Russell, Brendan Gleeson, Scott Speedman, Michael Michele, Lolita Davidovich, Ving Rhames.
  • Directed by Ron Shelton.
  • Screenplay by David Ayer.
  • Produced by Caldecot Chubb, David Blocker at United Artists/Intermedia/Alphaville/Cosmic.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:13:03 PDT