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Nicole Kidman plays Erin Bell, an LA Police Department cop who was assigned to undercover to a gang in the California desert. Based on a true story, the assignment ended badly. The movie tells the story, mostly in flashback, of the assignment of her and Chris (played by Sebastian Stan) and its impact on Erin’s present-day life. The story is interesting, and is rather similar to other undercover stories, like Drugstore Cowboy. While I enjoyed the movie, I did not think it was great. The screenplay is very “loose” in that there are so many aspects of the story that are not really developed in the way that they should be. For example, we never understand how Erin got back out of the undercover assignment nor do we get a lot of information about Erin and her daughter’s strained relationship. Nicole Kidman is very strong in her role – she never has a bad role – but I did not always find her work convincing; sometimes I watched the character knowing I was watching Nicole Kidman playing Eric Bell. I don’t feel that this is her best performance and for me doesn’t match the performances of many other women this year. The use of flashback annoyed me. While flashback sometimes works effectively, in this case, it is very distracting. I give the movie a thumbs up for mostly its entertainment and story-telling value, even though I left feeling like there were so many parts of the story that I did not understand.

About Gary Burkholder

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