Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Movie review: Training Day, dir Antoine Fuqua (2001)

This is an outstanding movie about good and evil that won Denzel Washington, who plays a Los Angeles detective, an Oscar. The writing is brilliant, though at the outset you cannot grasp the meaning of what happens as Jake (Ethan Hawke) goes out with a senior officer in the narcotics squad named Alonzo (Washington), who visits a number of people over the course of a day.

The casting and directing are excellent. The word “stories” pops up in an early scene where Jake and Alonzo, who from the outset appears flagrantly unorthodox, are sitting in a diner.

There are elaborate stories told by various characters, including a man whose name is Roger (Scott Glenn), whose place in the story is not elaborated upon, and a man named Doug (Harris Yulin), who is with two men in an upmarket restaurant whom Alonzo consults while making arrangements. Other secondary characters do good work, notably Cliff Curtis, who plays a man name Smiley with whom Jake talks over a hand of poker in the back room of a house.

Washington’s performance is revelatory and Hawke’s nomination for a different Oscar is testament to the quality of the writing.

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