Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in "Training Day".
GRAPHIC VISUALS, a violent theme and ambiguous morals make Warner Bros Inc ``Training Day," out of the routine. It had the opportunity to be a great film, but the last 20 minutes drag it down to average depths. But you can see why Denzil Washington won the Oscar for the Best Actor for his performance here. With an eye on authentic characterisation and realism, this is not the usual cop film coming out of Hollywood. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it tells the tale of Jake Hoyt, a `rookie' cop who wants to join the narcotics division and wage a war against the drug dealers and narcotics abuse. Training him for the job is Alonzo Harris (Denzel) a 13-year veteran narcotics officer whose methodology of fighting crime is questionable. But he is an expert and there is no one better than him to break Jake into the scene. He prepares him by giving him a trial run on the nasty streets of L.A. to provide a taste of what is to come. Plus he also wants to test his mettle to see if he has what it takes to face that kind of pressure. His philosophy is that, you have to be a wolf to catch the wolves - in other words get a bit dirty to get hold of the streets and catch the bigger fish responsible for the crime in the city of L.A.
Although the plausibility of the story (script -David Ayer) is questionable, one does not feel it while watching the film. The corruption, the investigations, often out of the jurisdiction of the law, and conflicting notions of justice, are all very real as Jake goes through the one-day trial that makes up the entire film. The feeling that danger could erupt any moment is palpable, especially with Jake being like a fish out of water in the unorthodox methods adopted by Alonzo. Plus, we are never quite sure if Alonzo is corrupting Jake or just testing him to see how far he will go. Which is why it is unfortunate that such a gritty film with so much realism, would descend to such a pallid climax. Its concerns of the ills of crime, both in the streets and in the police force hired to combat it, are genuine and laudable. But the performances however, are worth watching. You have Denzil in a negative role, which he tackles most admirably, and so does Ethan Hawke as Jake. Memorable work. The streets of crime are well-picturised with several close ups providing the stark expressions that add to the tension. It's a film you will want to question for its moral vs. amoral posturing and the fact that there may be some justification for being a crooked cop juxtaposed with the reality of some cops probably being more corrupt than the crooks themselves!
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