in ,

The Imprint Films After Dark Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Two – Part VI: Narc

Feature Presentations: Episode 63

Welcome to this column dedicated to my appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Narc from the After Dark Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Two box set from Imprint Films. My review of Narc is the first part of my multi-part review of this box set.

Oak sits at a table. The lower half of his face is illuminated.

As a disclaimer of transparency for this episode of Feature Presentations, my review of Narc comes from a review copy that Imprint Films provided for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I distinctly recall shortly after the Imprint Films After Dark Collection One dropped, the question of what should make the second box set came about on social media. I chimed in with my own thoughts, and while most didn’t make the cut, one did: Joe Carnahan’s Narc. And, as much as I would like to take credit for its inclusion, many people posted with the same thought process as I did. And it made me extremely happy that such a well-made film joins Collection Two!

From my above comments, you can surmise that I am a fan of director Joe Carnahan’s gritty cop thriller. I distinctly remember the chatter about Narc in the Fall of 2002. The buzz generated throughout the film festival season peaked when Tom Cruise threw his name behind the picture as an executive producer. It may not seem like a big deal now, but this carried weight 20 years ago. Reading the early reviews, having the Tom Cruise seal of approval, and diving into the grimy underworld—my interest in the film could not have been higher.

Being an independent film, Narc never made its way close enough to my residence when it hit theaters. Even if I missed it during the theatrical run, rest assured I was at my local Best Buy the day it dropped on DVD. Excitedly, I brought it home, popped it into my player, and hoped it lived up to my expectations. Unlike most films, Narc scratched my itch!

Telling the tale of two cops investigating the murder of another officer, Jason Patric and Ray Liotta work through the gritty streets of Detroit (or Toronto, if you want to get technical) in a search for the truth. With such a simplistic and well-worn plot, the film relies on the two lead performances and the world Joe Carnahan crafts for the viewers. It’s dark, violent, and unpleasant. And it’s the type of film I enjoy.

Imprint Films looks to have ported over most of the film’s features from the initial DVD release. There’s a commentary with Joe Carnahan and editor John Gilroy. Both contributors have a natural chemistry with each other as they discuss various aspects of the film’s production. Carnahan and Gilroy approach the commentary with a backpack full of knowledge and a slice of humor, as there is plenty of behind-the-scenes information on display while having fun with each other and their film.

Oak, in silhouette runs down a tunnel.

The multi-part documentary from the film’s DVD also finds its way onto this Blu-ray. Broken down into four parts, all aspects of Narc gets their due. Featuring discussions with the stars, director, producers, including Tom Cruise, and others associated with the film, and even William Friedkin, this was an excellent feature when the disc hit physical media shelves almost 20 years ago and resonates just as well today. The other reason to check this out is the inclusion of footage shot behind the scenes. It’s well-rounded and does what the best DVD documentary features should.

“Chasing Ghosts” is a newly-filmed interview with actor Jason Patric. If you read my reviews for After Dark, My Sweet and Rush, you know it’s a welcome sight to see Patric sit to discuss his work. Thankfully, Imprint Films goes three-for-three, getting Patric to reminisce about Narc. Patric is an actor that takes his craft seriously and takes the same approach for interviews. He discusses creating a purposefully icy atmosphere with Ray Liotta, working on a film he believes in while not getting paid, and posing as a cop while meeting real people on the street. Some may find his comments a bit self-serving, but I appreciate his thoughts and approaches to filmmaking and am grateful Imprint Films has a warm relationship with the actor.

“Over the Top” is a 2022 interview with writer/director Joe Carnahan. Carnahan has a likable yet gruff presence as he discusses the struggles of getting Narc off the ground. Some of this discussion is in the commentary; this interview gives extra time for him to expand on the details. He touches on his influences, singling out the 1970’s works of William Friedkin and Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line, the legitimacy Tom Cruise gave to the movie, and how to make such a down-and-dirty cop flick. 

The last new interview on the disc is an audio-only conversation with composer Cliff Martinez, overlaid with stills and video clips. Martinez discusses his early work in rock music before transitioning into working with director Steven Soderbergh and finally to Narc. While there is plenty of discussion regarding Joe Carnahan’s film, this interview also digs into the composer himself. Martinez discusses his approach to film scores, unused tracks, and his desire to work with Joe Carnahan again. Martinez’s comments sound sincere, and this interview is the most emotional of the new features.

Digging into Narc for the first time since Ray Liotta’s passing, I appreciate Imprint Films for including a 2002 interview with the actor. Even though this interview comes about during the press tour for Narc, there’s a bit more detail than typical puff piece Electronic Press Kits (EPKs). Liotta discusses his approach to his role in the film, the (at the time) notorious reception to 2001’s Hannibal, his desire to play music, and working with his then-wife on producing projects. Maybe it’s because of losing Ray Liotta so recently, as of this writing, but having this fifteen-minute interview with him elevated the features on this disc.

Imprint Films closes out the Narc Blu-ray with the film’s theatrical trailer.

Tellis and Oak sit at a diner. The shot is filed behind a railing.

And there you have it! I will go to my grave singing high praise for Joe Carnahan’s Narc. It’s the type of film I like, crafted by a talented group of people in front and behind the camera. Imprint Films did the film justice by bringing over the existing movie’s supplemental material, adding a handful of new and insightful extras to create a complete and comprehensive package. I love Narc, and I love this physical media release.

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a lifelong cinephile and has had an admiration with film for as long as he can remember. When he's not checking out the most recent theatrical release, viewing a movie on one of a 1,000,000,000 streaming services or picking up the latest physical media disc, he's trying and failing to make it in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He also has a weird fascination with Stephen Dorff. Make of that what you will. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Leave a Reply

Film Obsessive welcomes your comments. All submissions are moderated. Replies including personal attacks, spam, and other offensive remarks will not be published. Email addresses will not be visible on published comments.

Two young girls hug

All in the Family: Films of 2022 in Review

Bigelow looks at Mortis whose shirt is riddled with bullets.

Zombies, Comedy and Joe Piscopo? Yes, It’s Dead Heat on 4K!