Training Day | Chicago Reader

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The big question in this maniacally ambiguous, then painfully obvious thriller (2001) is, can Denzel Washington be trusted? Police officer Ethan Hawke must prove himself to Washington—a deadly eccentric who's grooming Hawke for an elite undercover assignment in narcotics enforcement. Establishing Hawke's point of view by forcing us to share his confusion about Washington's motives is a strong idea, and on training day we're put through the paces with the rookie. If he makes it through the trial by fire—and a blandly twisting plot with no meaningful revelations or substantial themes—Hawke will get a promotion, but there's nothing in it for us. Antoine Fuqua directed a screenplay by David Ayer. 122 min.

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