(jp) wrote: In the town of Garrison, New Jersey, located across the Hudson River from New York City, a number of residents are NYPD officers. Local Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) is secretly in love with Liz Randone (Annabella Sciorra), whose life he once saved after a car accident. Her rescue cost him the hearing in one ear which made him ineligible to become a New York City cop, as so many of his peers did, including Liz's abusive and unfaithful husband Joey Randone (Peter Berg). One night, Murray "Superboy" Babitch (Michael Rapaport), nephew of Lt. Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), is driving across the George Washington Bridge when his car is side-swiped by a couple of African-American teens. Babitch attempts to force them to pull over. The passenger points what Babitch thinks is a weapon just before (Babitch's) front tire "blows out". Believing they have fired at him, Babitch shoots back. In an ensuing accident, the teens are killed. Jack Rucker (Robert Patrick) removes the steering-wheel lock that Babitch mistook for a weapon from the hands of one of the dead teens and is caught trying to plant a sub-machine-gun in their vehicle to justify the shooting. Worried about the repercussions to his career, Babitch is persuaded by Donlan to fake his own suicide; with help from several other cops, Donlan pretends that Babitch has jumped off the bridge. Other corrupt police officers, including Detective Leo Crasky (John Spencer) and Frank Lagonda (Arthur Nascarella), fear that Babitch will resurface and testify about their corruption to Internal Affairs. Internal Affairs investigator Lt. Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) asks if Heflin will provide information on the corrupt cops who live in Garrison. Heflin is intimidated by the New York City cops and is reluctant to betray them, derailing Tilden's investigation. Superiors in the department, related to the corrupt cops, order Tilden to shut down the investigation. Although the Babitch cover-up appears to be initially successful, Donlan is told by Patrolmen's Defense Association President Vincent Lassaro (Frank Vincent) that without a body, the case will not stay cold. Donlan reluctantly decides that his nephew must be killed. Babitch is tipped off by his aunt Rose (Cathy Moriarty) and escapes. He goes to Heflin's house looking for help, but when he sees Heflin's friend (and fellow NYPD cop) Gary "Figgsy" Figgis (Ray Liotta), he flees. Freddy must find a "Superboy" and protect him before Donlan finds him...Stallone's understated performance was praised by critics and he received the Best Actor award at the Stockholm International Film Festival. "Cop Land" was also screened at the 54th Venice Film Festival in the Midnight line-up. Earlier in May 1997, the film was accepted into the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, but Miramax declined the invitation due to re-shoots that were needed for the film, including footage of Stallone 40 pounds heavier. Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "There is a rough balance between how long a movie is, how deep it goes and how much it can achieve. That balance is not found in Cop Land and the result is too much movie for the running time". On the other hand, Gene Siskel praised the movie, especially the screenplay, "One to be savored." In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin felt that, "the strength of Cop Land is in its hard-edged, novelistic portraits, which pile up furiously during the film's dynamic opening scenes... Yet if the price of Mangold's casting ambitions is a story that can't, finally, match its marquee value, that value is still inordinately strong. Everywhere the camera turns in this tense and volatile drama, it finds enough interest for a truckload of conventional Hollywood fare. Whatever its limitations, Cop Land has talent to burn". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Stallone does a solid, occasionally winning job of going through the motions of shedding his stardom, but the wattage of his personality is turned way down-at times, it's turned down to neutral. And that pretty much describes Cop Land, too. Dense, meandering, ambitious yet jarringly pulpy, this tale of big-city corruption in small-town America has competence without mood or power-a design but not a vision". In her review for the Washington Post, Rita Kempley wrote, "With its redundancy of supporting characters, snarled subplots and poky pace, Cop Land really might have been better off trading the director for a traffic cop". Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers praised Stallone's performance: "His performance builds slowly but achieves a stunning payoff when Freddy decides to clean up his town ... Freddy awakes to his own potential, and it's exhilarating to watch the character and the actor revive in unison. Nearly down for the count in the movie ring, Stallone isn't just back in the fight. He's a winner". In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle also liked Stallone's work: "His transformation is more than a matter of weight. He looks spiritually beaten and terribly sad. He looks like a real person, not a cult-of-the-body film star, and he uses the opportunity to deliver his best performance in years"."Copland" is one of Sylvester Stallones finest moments as he get to truly show his acting abilities in a role we normally dont see him in. Hes overweight, bleak, sad, lonely and in secret longing for the woman he cant get. The cast, story, location and direction from James Mangold creates an intense and engaging film with a touch of an independent movie. The message to garner the courage to do what is right despite the risks involved and what you might sacrifice is not unique, but yet interesting and believable. The portrayal of corruption and dark sides of the police department is an important question to be asked as this is of course a threat to our society. If you cant trust the police who can you trust? The film has so many solid actors in the leads such as Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta, Annabella Sciorra etc which bring the film to great heights as everybody has brought their A-Game. "Copland" is a great crime drama in my eyes. And I love the ending.