An aggressive chase and a stray bullet nearly ends the career of undercover narcotics agent Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) whose job is tearing apart his life and his family.
Tellis dreams of working a less stressful desk job, and he knows that a conviction in an upcoming case will land him the job.
So he accepts an assignment assisting the overlong investigation of a slain officer, hoping it will be his last experience of street work.
Tellis is partnered with Lt. Henry Oak (Ray Liotta) whose unorthodox methods are part of the reason the case is still unsolved.
Strict attention to police procedure and cop lingo lift writer-director Joe Carnahan's (BLOOD, GUTS, BULLETS AND OCTANE) gritty, violent film above the cliches of the typical police thriller.
NARC is fueled by impassioned performances from leads Patrick, a wary officer who seeks the truth as a means to his own psychological redemption; and Liotta (who also produced), as a broken cop with sadistic, rule-breaking tendencies.
The film's grimy immediacy is to the credit of cinematographer Alex Nepomniaschy.