“McCanick” (2013) – Review by Gabriel “Big Gabe” Alcantara

McCanick morse and cory

McCanick Movie Review

Written by Gabriel “Big Gabe” Alcantara of Stuffed Burrito Entertainment

David Morse stars as McCanick, a cop with problems he just can’t fix

McCanick is a low-budget, gritty cop drama that premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF for all the cool people who usually attend the festival. If the film has generated any kind of buzz at all, it’s probably because it co-stars Glee‘s Cory Monteith in his final film role before his sudden death. I, myself, looked into the film because I saw a poster that featured veteran actor David Morse, a very underrated actor, in my opinion, dramatically standing in front of a mirror, holding a .45. I saw the trailer and I thought it looked interesting, so I watched the film… online. Hey, it was there, I had time to watch it and it doesn’t open here in the US until next year. Can you blame me?

The plot is pretty damned simple. It’s Detective Eugene “Mack” McCanick (Morse) birthday but it isn’t a very happy one. He finds out that a young criminal named Simon Weeks (Monteith), whom he put away several years ago, has been released from prison. Weeks knows a dirty little secret about the detective, so McCanick and his partner, Floyd (Mike Vogel), relentlessly search for the him during the course of one day. What a stressful way to spend your birthday.

Sadly, the biggest selling point for this film is going to be the fact that it is the last film Cory Monteith appeared in, because the story isn’t particularly interesting. The film is essentially a mystery. What does this kid know about this cop? That’s the main question. The film periodically cuts to flashbacks that help unfold the true connection between the troubled detective and the drug addicted criminal. The first half of this film is rather dull and plays out like a muddled police procedural with McCanick shaking down criminals, asking the whereabouts of Weeks. Then, the film picks up in the second half and starts to get interesting as the truth is beginning to unravel. However, once that truth is revealed, it might just have you say, “That’s it?”. That was how I felt about the whole damn thing. The reveal just didn’t seem like a big deal.

It doesn’t help that this is a very drabby looking film. It’s very low budget, and if over $1 million was spent on this film, somebody got robbed. Director Josh C. Waller hasn’t really done much other than a few short films and one other feature film, so I’m not going to be too harsh on him. Waller is also the producer of the film and he does try to get creative with the camera and the small budget he has to work with. The major issue is the writing. It falls completely flat and feels pointless in the end. Not to mention, improbable and unnecessary.

At least there are some good performances in the mix. David Morse is an actor that I admire and he rarely ever gets a chance to fully shine in a film, unless it’s an indie flick like this. He brings a lot of depth into this character, even though McCanick has all the trimmings of a cliched veteran police character, complete with a failed marriage and a son he can’t make amends with. Morse is just such a pro, that it’s hard not to appreciate his performance. As for Cory Monteith, he definitely showed promise as an actor. I am not a fan of Glee and I have zero plans on ever watching it. Also, it may seem like the respectable thing to do is to praise the performance of an actor who is no longer with us, but if I have to be honest, I’ll say that he was pretty good in this movie and fans should be proud to see him expand his acting abilities to this gritty role. He sure spends a lot of time running and looking terrified in this flick though. Ciaran Hinds, another great actor I admire, has a small role as the police captain and friend to McCanick. There is one scene where, I think, he spent the most time cussing and yelling than in his entire career. The role is pretty much a waste of time for a man of his talents but it’s still a pleasure to see him do his thing.

McCanick is a crime-drama with good performances and a mysterious plot with a very underwhelming conclusion. The film is only worth seeing if you are a fan of David Morse or you absolutely need to see the late Cory Monteith one last time, doing something completely different than the lighthearted TV show he is known for. Honestly, there are far better cop dramas than this, but if you want to give it a shot, it’s not a complete waste of time. In fact, maybe you’ll come away with something entirely different than me. I honestly thought the film was alright but pointless in the end. Search out this film, if you must and tell me if I’m wrong.

My rating: 2.5 outta 5

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