Cop

1988, Movie, R, 110 mins

Review

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Based on James Ellroy's novel Blood on the Moon, COP is a grim, modern-day film noir starring James Woods as Lloyd Hopkins, the most obsessive, vile and amoral cop since Ralph Meeker played Mike Hammer in Robert Aldrich's KISS ME DEADLY. Coproduced by Woods, and written and directed by his friend James B. Harris (who produced Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING, PATHS OF GLORY and LOLITA), COP combines brutal violence with a self-mocking sense of black humor.

Its action is set in a Los Angeles overwhelmed by hypocrisy, cynicism and sleaze, where Woods, an inveterate loner who is one of the LAPD's best detectives, finds himself investigating a murder he believes to have been the work of a serial killer who preys on innocent-looking women. Oppressively seedy and bleak, COP presents a world destroyed by the corruption of romantic notions, and Woods, who understands this warped milieu, is obsessed with the way society fills women's heads with fairy-tale promises of security, decency, justice, and romance. "Innocence kills," he tells his shocked wife. "I see it every day." Although directed and written with a sometimes-unsure hand by Harris, COP is completely absorbing because of Woods's chillingly effective performance.

Few actors can make an amoral, intelligent, sardonic, hyperactive, womanizing, violent and downright warped character as disarmingly appealing as Woods can. As an actor, he juggles complex contradictions with ease, showing an audience the various sides of his character's psyche with the skill of a magician. In COP, Woods takes us on a singularly unpleasant ride, but it is always an insightful and fascinating one. Fueled by his frightening performance, the film rushes headlong into an ending that is so inevitable, yet still so shocking, that it terminates the genre with an irrevocable bang. leave a comment

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