If Jason Patric had made no other contribution to American cinema than producing and starring in Neil LaBute’s second film, YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, that would be reason enough for me to owe him an immeasurable debt of gratitude. Patric has a savvy sense of the business side of show biz, resulting in very few misses (the less said about SPEED II, the better). Though his films have not always been blockbusters, they represent a body of work, including AFTER DARK MY SWEET, that will stand the test of time for their honesty and intensity.
When I spoke with Patric on December 10, 2002, the conversation ranged from the less than glamorous circumstances in which he found himself while filming NARC, to the unconventional view he takes of being the son of actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Jason Miller.
NARC begins intensely with a narc’s-eye view of a bust gone bad. Everything happens too quickly and there is no time to focus on any one event, from the killing of a bystander to the killing of the perp as he attempts to take a toddler hostage, to the shooting of the toddler’s pregnant mother. The narc is Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) and as he tries to stop the pregnant woman from bleeding to death, he stops to scream at a reality that could allow this and it is as raw a cry as a human has ever made. The subsequent shot, of Tellis at home cradling his own baby is as profound as that scream and the perfect pairing of images to illustrate the two mutually exclusive worlds that Tellis in particular and narcs in general inhabit.
Don’t expect NARC to deliver any heroes or, for that many, any villains. Moral absolutes belong in philosophy books, not in this universe.