Belgrade International Film Festival
"Training Day"
(Antoine Fuqua, director)
Review by Radmila Djurica

Although it’s one of the top films in the USA, only Denzel Washington gives a top performance in Training Day, shaping the film with his main character. The only other role that stands out is the sharp but short appearance of Macy Gray as the strangest character in the whole picture.

Denzel Washington plays a man who, at the same time, is amazed and disgusted by LA's low-life criminals, creating a psychological crack between good and bad in his personality. “Training Day” explores the dark side of the LA police, walking on the very edge between light and darkness.

Yet, Antoine Fuqua's story is even more complicated than similar stories told many times before. This is the dramatic story of an experienced cop [Washington], who takes a young, inexperienced partner [Ethan Hawke] on a training day for an undercover drug operation. Scene by scene, the young partner finds out that his trainer is as corrupted as many others in the same unit, eventually finding the strength to fight back, after all.

Fuqua has an impressive resume in music videos [Arrested Development, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton], and has received many awards. In addition to MTV's Best Rap Video, he has received awards for making commercials. Fuqua's success so far is limited to the commercial cliché, a fate suffered by even highly talented artists.

Director Fuqua and screenplay writer David Ayer come from similar backgrounds: from the cruel and violent bad streets of LA and Pittsburgh. Does this explain why all other characters in the film, including Ethan Hawke's, are badly characterized?



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