Movie Review: Straightforward ‘Bent’ a Serviceable Detective Thriller
Pity poor undercover cop Danny Gallagher (Karl Urban): partner Charlie (Vincent Spano) has shot and killed another undercover policeman during an operation gone wrong, evil crime kingpin Driscoll (John Finn) has made them both, and Driscoll kills Charlie and leaves Danny for dead.
For good measure, Driscoll sells them both out as dirty when negotiating a light three-year sentence for murder and other crimes. You might think the D.A. would throw the book at a cop killer, but if he can claim said cop was... bent, well, that changes everything.
So when an innocent Danny is released from prison three years later, now minus a job and harassed by the rest of the force, the mob boss who killed his partner and sent him to prison is getting out the following week.
Danny circles the date in his calendar, and bides his time in the scuzziest sea shanty shack with the best view of the New Orleans bay (incredibly, the film was shot in Italy, standing in for Louisiana).
But for most of Bent, Danny needs something to do while he waits for the mob boss to be released. So he reaches out to a friend of his partner whose sister was murdered on the very same night that things went south with Driscoll.
The murder was never solved, despite a creepy husband (Joe Pacheco) who works for a mysterious government agency. And as Danny digs in, things play out in resolutely straightforward fashion.
Bent, like its lead character, doesn’t really seem to care about the murder case that takes up 80% of its screentime; like Danny, the movie seems to just be biding its time before it can get to the revenge.
But as pedestrian as the murder mystery is, it isn’t entirely uninteresting; the convoluted plot holds at least some appeal while the snarky Urban and a sultry femme fatale played by Sofia Vergara heat up the screen. Andy Garcia also shows up in a key, if minor, supporting role.
Directed by Robert Morseco, who produced and co-wrote the Oscar-winning Crash and directed the not-bad 10th & Wolf a decade ago, Bent is based on a novel by Joseph P. O'Donnell and feels like a minor entry in a long and non-existent series of detective stories featuring the Danny Gallagher character.
And while it brings nothing new to the table, Bent is a serviceable, slickly-produced 90s-style detective thriller that offers modest entertainment value for those too tired to search for something better on Netflix.