ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  antoine fuqua

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  police drama

LENGTH  -  120 minutes

RELEASED  -  5 october 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  training day

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $45,000,000
training day - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from training day at

buy the dvd from training day at

a young police officer's dream job to become a l.a. narcotics officer becomes a nightmare when his training officer turns out to be corrupt.

this film marks the first time la street gangs allowed cameras to be brought into the imperial courts neighborhood.


picture from training day

picture from training day

picture from training day


three out of four possible stars

Lots of violence and lots of guns. A very shocking movie. Perhaps that was the motive in Training Day. If it was, it sure worked. And if ever the term "nonstop" could be applied to a film, Training Day would certainly qualify. Depicting the first day on the job of a narcotics officer, played by Ethan Hawke, in the lapd and his initiation into the life on the street by his commanding officer, played by Denzel Washington, this film really makes sure you have a finer appreciation for guns by the end of it. Around every turn is something to keep your stomach in knots.

It's rare that a film can keep me so engrossed for the entire run of the film, but this one managed to do it. I can usually feel the beats in a film like a clock. Every five minutes or so (unless you're watching a Tarantino film) has got a different obstacle for the protagonist to overcome. After you watch a certain amount of films, you don't even have to look at your watch anymore. You know what's going to happen and when it's going to happen. Even if the plot is unusual, the rules of filmmaking are usually never crossed. And you might think that knowing the elements of a film by heart that all my movie-going experiences would be interrupted by my brain going "ooh, plot point . . ." but this rarely happens.

I know when it's happening, but I don't give it much thought. This film though had me completely interested for the entire two hours. It's just slammed together without a breath to spare. And of course, the reason I was so highly entertained by this film was the performance by Denzel. With his history of playing the hero in nearly all the films he's acted in over the last decade, playing the agitator is very much a departure for the actor. But he handles the weight well. Playing opposite Hawke, he sometimes overpowers his younger co-star, but never to the point where you feel he's too strong.

He's got an amazing ability to completely embody the character he plays. He leaves no doubt for the viewer to think that this is just denzel playing a part. It's almost scary how denzel is able to make you forget that he's denzel. Just watch his performances in any of his films. And the man playing opposite him does fairly well, considering that he hasn't had any real breakthrough parts in his career. Ethan Hawke is, by design, a smaller person, but doesn't crack under the pressure of acting in the same scenes with Denzel, even when there are bullets flying.

His character, in any case, is supposed to be less of a presence than Denzel's, and the two actors mesh well throughout the film. Living in LA, I have to say i was interested in the scenery for this film. And the atmosphere. Since the film takes place over one twenty-four hour or so period, the look of the film had to stay pretty consistent. In the morning, it's raining, and by the afternoon, the skies have cleared and it's a normal sunny California day. But when the movie starts, and it's raining (which must have been a b**ch to film, given the drought-like conditions here eleven months out of the year), I could see that the filmmakers were trying to give the movie a gritty "New York" feel to the scenes.

Dark, rainy, and gray. Not the usual vistas in los angeles. I was aware that special care was taken with most of the shots to ensure that they looked particularly urban. Now, I don't think i remember seeing any shots of Beverly Hills, but the film seemed to run the gamut of locations in Los Angeles. It takes you from the places with crime so bad that you wouldn't want to walk around during the day to the areas not as hard hit by it, canvassing a large part of LA.

So after wowing you with my praise of all those involved in the film, why have I given it three stars instead of four?

It has to do mainly with the amount of violence in the film. It actually borders on the extreme, even in the intense situation in which the actors find themselves. It almost seems that with the bombardment of bullets, violence, and blood in the film, the cinematographer and director have actually lessened the effects of those disturbing images. It's like seeing violence on the news. After seeing it night after night, you get used to it and it doesn't leave the same mark on your mind that it does when you first see it.

If not for denzel washington, this flaw might have completely destroyed the film. But he's able to put such a powerful presence on the screen that you're just pulled into the entire two hours. When you see this movie though, you need to understand that it is so violent, that some of the message seems to get lost with the very intense fighting.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs warner bros. 2001
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