Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Jason Patric, Ray Liotta, Busta Rhymes, Chi McBrides, Richard Chevolleau, Krista Bridges

Non-Cast Credits

Joe Carnahan, Ray Liotta, Michelle Grace, Alex Nepomniaschy, John Gilroy, Cliff Martinez


Joe Carnahan returns to Sundance with a fast-paced, hard-boiled tale of cops and scandal, drugs and deception. His first feature, Blood Guts Bullets & Octane, established him as a promising filmmaker able to work within a genre, but giving it originality and flair. With topnotch actors Jason Patric and Ray Liotta and a bigger budget, he as the proper tools to take it to the next level. From the opening adrenaline-pumping chase, featuring incredible handheld camerawork, you can tell Carnahan has a firm grasp on the material.

Eighteen months after the ill-fated chase, which ends tragically with the death of a baby, undercover officer Nick Tellis (Patric) is hitting bottom. He is on probation and barely surviving on his small stipend. His wife is not eager for him to return to the force, but when an undercover cop is killed in the line of duty, he is summoned onto the case because of his invaluable understanding of the street. Teamed with Lt. Harry Oak (Liotta), the slain cop's partner known for his unconventional administration of justice, Tellis slips into old patterns as the underworld he knows too intimately sucks him in.

Carnahan recreates a world that is cinematically thrilling and gritty with dialogue sharp as nails and a score perfectly in sync with the tone of the film. He makes clever use of split screen, harkening to films of the 1970s�a brilliant device for montaging the investigation. In Narc, Carnahan breathes life into a genre that only works when done well.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.