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Review: Training Day movie

Training Day was released in October 2001 to general critical acclaim. A brutal, taut and fast paced police drama it is set over a 24 hour period in the notorious gang neighbourhoods of Los Angeles.

Acting masterclass

Starring the talents of Denzil Washington and Ethan Hawkes as two detectives with the LAPD narcotics division, it tells a story of manipulation, corruption and violence.
It's hard to believe so much action could be packed into one day, but director Antoine Fuqua manages to capture the drama without ever allowing it to overtake the two central characters. Cast and characters
Washington plays Detective Alonzo Harris, an officer who will determine whether Jake Hoyt, played by Ethan Hawke, is good enough to join his narcotics squad. Hoyt has heard of Harris' reputation and knows he is in for a demanding day but the unconventional techniques employed to test him soon has him at breaking point. Forced to take drugs, walk away from crime and dish out vigilante judgements are just scratching the surface of what is to come for Hoyt and he soon realises he is out of his depth. The Training Day car scenes, where the two lead actors are in close proximity to each other, simmer with a dialogue full of threats, advice and cajolement.
The intensity of Washington makes it easily believable that one man could manipulate others to achieve his own goals.

Critical acclaim

The Training Day movie was a box office sensation.
It stayed in the top ten film chart in the US for seven weeks and enjoyed similar success around the world.
Made on an estimated budget of $45 million the film grossed almost $105 million from worldwide sales. Initial reaction from critics was favourable, and there was no surprise when Washington and Hawke were both nominated for Oscars for their roles.
Whilst Washington walked away with the best actor award, Hawke can consider himself unlucky not to have taken the best supporting actor prize for his understated performance which complimented Washington's high-octane delivery perfectly.
Final word
Subsequent years have led to a more reflective judgement on the film and whilst most agree it still holds as a good storyline, the ending has been criticised for being unrealistic.
That aside, the film is a must see for Washington's grip on his character and the gritty portrayal of LA's gang neighbourhoods.

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