Just when so many low level, humdrum, trite and terribly terrible horror and thriller movies were boring me to death, Netflix dazzled me by putting on Sidney Lumet’s enthralling film Q & A about a New York cop gone bad, like stinking fish!
I wondered how I had never watched this superior thriller in which Nick Nolte plays a very nasty racist and corrupt cop, (perhaps the best movie of his career) steaming with rabid spools of hatred, malice and brutal misuse of power. The story begins with him playing Mike Brennan, a respected cop, (but a very mean racist rat) who kills an underworld thug and claims it was done in self defence.
Then arrives Timothy Hutton as Al Reilly, the investigator from the top levels of the New York Police Department who finds a poisoned and poisonous darkness under the crime. Bullied by Brennan to cover up the slime, he falls deeper into the murk….where he meets a girlfriend he had lost six years ago when he seemingly displayed his own racism when he was introduced to her father who was black.
The joy of watching a LUmet film is that every single character, event, drama, music, is so rich in character and function, that you are whirled through the tantalising story magically. Jenny Lumet, the director’s daughter is achingly intense as Al Reily’s girlfriend who dumps him to marry a drug dealer again perfectly played by Armando Asante.
The film is based on the novel by Edwin Torres.
The underbelly of New York with all its multilayered problems of race, politics, human greed and police corruption, is a rich tapestry that keeps you hooked and you come to realise that often old gold wins over newer sagging and soggy crime thrillers. And Nick Nolte is unforgettable and makes you quake with his solid portrayal of a very sick and sickening cop spouting bloodcurdling brutality!