I think it’s safe to say we have all felt some indifference with the police before. Whether they pulled us over with a speeding ticket, or may have made our lives a bit inconvenient at times. But those cops have nothing on the scumbags on today’s list. Men who are supposed to protect the innocent use the streets to their own greedy advantages. And some are just so bad that they wind up being worse than the criminals they are supposed to stop. John Michael McDonagh is back with his new film War on Everyone (2016) just to show how far a cop can stoop. But will Michael Peña and Alexander Skarsgård be as dirty as the cops on today’s list? Honourable mentions go out to Lakeview Terrace (2008), Maniac Cop (1988), and Dirty Harry (1971). I know people will be pissed Clint didn’t make it, but I don’t consider it a dirty cop movie. Also Serpico (1973) but I’ve mentioned it on a few lists I think now.
10. The Killer inside Me (2010)
People will be pissed with this selection however, but I have my reasons. In 1950’s Texas, a young Sheriff (Casey Affleck) is liked by his local community. However, what they do not realise is that he is a dangerous sociopath, and his evil sexual urges are just the tip of the iceberg. People are furious about the depiction of violence towards women in this film. And so they should because I absolutely agree with them. But I think that’s what made the character so repugnant, and our reactions are exactly what the filmmaker achieved. Not that I’m condoning this with Michael Winterbottom or any other filmmaker, but you have got to admit, he got a pretty heated response.
9. Filth (2013)
This film is just plain demented, but what would you expect from Irvine Welsh? Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a drug taking alcoholic suffering from Bipolar Disorder. This was already bad enough, but the fact he is a Detective Sergeant just adds to the trouble. The sick sexual games he plays and the abusiveness of others around him just brings him sickly pleasure. But as it is revealed there is a reason behind all of this insanity, we see that there is a much sadder story behind this behaviour. The film is just pure bonkers and with a completely over-the-top performance from McAvoy. Although it loses most of its steam in the final act, it is still a memorable performance in his catalogue.
8. Léon: The Professional (1994)
A much underrated (I find) action from French director Luc Besson. Léon (Jean Reno) is a professional hitman in New York City. However when his neighbour’s family is slaughtered by a psychotic DEA agent (Gary Oldman), he must do whatever he can to keep her safe. If you thought McAvoy was intense, he had nothing on Oldman. A drug addicted Wildman who had zero hesitation in killing anyone, even children. And when he takes some suspicious looking pills, just keep an eye out for his insane reaction. Fecking lunatic if you’ve ever seen one.
7. Training Day (2001)
You know this would be here somewhere. Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is on his first day of being a narcotics officer in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for him, he is being evaluated by Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). Throughout the day they go on several drug busts, smoke weed, and do some dodgy deals. Then Jake soon realizes that Alonzo is up to no good, way more than he ever thought at first. When most people think of Denzel most of their reactions would be from Training Day. It’s just a really good, intense, and scary look into what a dirty cop can do and get away with. Hawke is really good too, but Denzel is just the man.
6. Cop Land (1997)
The all-star cast makes a return. Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) is the Sheriff of a small peaceful town in New Jersey. Although most residents are New York City cops, Freddy begins to realise that there is a huge amount of corruption going on right under his nose. And when he decides he has had enough, he finally takes his battle to Lt. Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel). I know I’ve mentioned Cop Land on a previous list but it’s just too good. With a fantastic support cast including Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta and Michal Rapaport it is definitely worth your time. Harvey makes a pretty memorable performance as a dirty cop with one too many friends. But that’s not the only dirty cop he’s played before.
5. Bad Lieutenant (1992)
This would be the cop Harvey Keitel may be known for the most. Directed by Abel Ferrara, the film follows a cop known only as “the lieutenant”. After a nun is raped in her church, “the lieutenant” takes it upon himself to find whoever is responsible. If only he could get over his many, MANY addictions. Including alcohol, gambling, and even crack. It may be a long investigation. If you are familiar with Ferrara’s films then you would be familiar with how seedy he can show the other side of things. The religious undertones and themes of redemption may feel a bit muddled underneath all the sleaze. But Keitel holds it all together in a great performance, and most likely Ferrara’s best film.
4. Killer Joe (2009)
Another controversial choice but definitely worth the entry. When young drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) needs to pay off some loan sharks, he realises that his mother’s life insurance policy is worth over $50,000. To help pull this off, he hires the help of Detective/Contract killer Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), who soon begins to take an interest in Chris’ younger sister Dottie (Juno Temple). Then things take a very disturbing turn. Directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist), Joe seems like your typical neo-noir thriller. But then you see Joe’s ugly side, and that includes a piece of fried chicken, in a scene that you will never forget. Downright bizarre, insanely offensive, but Christ did it leave its mark.
3. The Hurricane (1999)
Denzel makes a return, but this time on the wrong side of the law (does that apply here?). Based on the true story (loosely) of Rubin “hurricane” Carter (Washington), who was the middleweight boxing champion of the world. One night a bar is shot up leaving several people dead. And Rubin is framed and forced to serve three consecutive life sentences. Behind it all is Det. Sgt. Della Pesca, who holds a grudge against Carter for reasons unknown. One of the greatest boxing movies of all time, but when we see how slimy Della Pesca is in covering up and framing Rubin the motives are never fully made clear. It is obvious that he hated Rubin from such an early age, and did whatever it took to make his life a living hell. And maybe that’s why the role is so perfect and evil. The less we know, the better.
2. Infernal Affairs (2002)
The original film that inspired Scorsese to remake as The Departed (2006). I’m sure you all know the story by now. An undercover cop poses as a gangster to infiltrate the triads, whilst a triad member joins the police force as an undercover mole. Although Scorsese’s film is much better known, I have mentioned it on previous lists. And in many cases, the original films tend to be much better than their English language remake. It’s just an insanely good crime thriller. Nail-bitingly tense, and just never knowing who will come out on top is just some of the reasons as to why this film makes it near the top of the list. But it isn’t number one.
1. The Guard (2011)
I don’t care what you think, this movie is great. Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a Sergeant for the Garda Síochána in the west of Ireland. When he is informed that a shipment of cocaine estimated at around $500 million is making a delivery, he doesn’t seem very much concerned. Indulging in self-medication and prostitutes, he lives an almost care-free lifestyle. But FBI Special Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) is much more straight-laced, and isn’t one to put up with Gerry’s antics very much. Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, the film itself is just a constant laugh. Gleeson is on top form as always, and they really could not have gotten anyone more opposite to play his somewhat partner in Don Cheadle. The chemistry between them both seems bizarre in some ways, but it works so well and provides some brilliant humour in showing two men who may not like each other very much, but respect each other enough to take down the baddies. Besides, Gerry may know a bit too much about drug consumption being in such a peaceful part of the country not to be a dirty cop.