Reviewed Feb 15, 2012
Mitchell Beaupre’s review:
A gritty crime thriller in the tradition of the best of them. It's a slow-burner, with Sean Penn taking on the brooding lead role and Ed Harris and Gary Oldman playing support as the criminals who he goes undercover with, and it leads to a blistering conclusion. This is a film loaded with intense moments, and it's expertly paced, each moment feeling more important and gripping than the last. Penn is perfectly cast in the lead and Harris gives an intimidating turn, but it's Oldman who steals the entire film. This is one of those force of nature performances that just devours everything around it and sears into your memory.
He dominates the screen, towering above the rest of the cast and delivering an utterly psychotic portrayal. It's everything this kind of performance should be; haunting, emotional and strangely alluring. There's a scene in a car where Penn's character says to Oldman's, "You always were stronger than me," and Oldman responds, "I just thought I was crazier". This piece of dialogue is so telling when it comes to the character and the way Oldman portrays him; he's a guy who is completely unhinged from sanity, but has full knowledge of this and revels in his psychosis. He's long gone and he wouldn't have it any other way.