A stylish film that often drowns in its own style, Narc – with its Rashomon by way of Training Day plot – nevertheless offers two really interesting characters at its core: Detroit cops Ray Liotta and Jason Patric, who are paired up to find out who murdered Liotta's former partner, a much-loved officer with a wife and kids. The rest is your usual "gritty cop drama" stuff: lots of guns, yelling, and swearing, junkies getting their brains blown out, and so forth.

In the end, the film isn't about much; the only drama lies in the question "Who actually killed that officer?" The final answer is unexpectedly touching, but the story meanders on its way to that conclusion, as those in "actors' films" tend to do.

Liotta (who produced) and Patric are excellent, and they lead a uniformly strong cast, but the whole thing is shot like a music video. Strangely, what bothered me the most was the sound editing. First, half of the visual edits seem to have Bang-Pow-Boom sound effects associated with them. Next, someone in the mixing room was having too much fun with the "balance" level: a character walks slightly off camera left and suddenly his dialogue is mixed into the left channel. It's like these guys just discovered stereo or something.

But I digress. Narc isn't bad for what it is, and fans of tough cop movies should appreciate it. But it's no Dirty Harry.