James Mangold's debut feature Copland is a brilliantly taut crime drama with an incredible script that enticed a wealth of acting talent on a relatively low budget.
'Copland' is a peaceful town on the outskirts of New York inhabited by the Big Apple's police force. Freddy (Stallone), the town sheriff is friends with many of the cops but he slowly discovers a mob related conspiracy within the cops corrupt circle which he must either decide on tackling or turning a blind eye.
James Mangold's debut is a compelling modern day urban western that is an intense slow burning thriller full of intrigue & mystery. The stunning final act follows the old fashioned western tropes to the familiar western style stand off and shootout but set in a modern environment with disorientating sound design.
Mangold's script crackles off the page and onto the screen, particularly when the manipulative Harvey Keitel is on screen. Which leads me onto the incredible ensemble cast.
Sylvester Stallone puts in a career defining performance. Arguably his best, outperforming legendary actors such as Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro as well as Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapport, Annabelle Sciorra, Peter Berg, John Spencer and Jeneane Garofalo, but who are all excellent too by the way.
With Howard Shore's gripping filmscore that adds another layer of atmospheric tension to the narrative James Mangold's Copland is quite simply one of the best debuts of all time. 9/10.
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