Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Donnie Brasco

Funny, isn't it? Donnie Brasco, one of the best films about the American Mafia, was directed by the British Mike Newell. (Then again, many directors of Hollywood's Golden Age were born in various European countries and could depict American life with no problem.) Anyway, onward with the review.

Starring in the title role is Johnny Depp, who at the time was at the height of his stardom. It's a role like this that prove that Depp is a legit actor, not just a pretty boy movie star. (If only Hollywood itself would pick up on that.) Seriously, someone give him a good script again.

Depp's co-star is Al Pacino who, like Depp, is in dire need of a good script again. I mean, everyone knows he's a great actor. And again, his work in Donnie Brasco proves it. There has to be someone in Hollywood that still has faith in him.

Much like Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way (which also starred Pacino), Newell depicts 1970s New York City with ease. This isn't the world of sharply-dressed gangsters that's mostly associated with the genre. These gangsters are much more...casual.

Anyway, Donnie Brasco is pretty great though not as great as, say, Goodfellas or Once Upon a Time in America. It's mostly because it loses steam towards the end. Still, Depp and Pacino's performances ensure that this is a film very much worth a look.

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. I'm right with you in thinking Donnie Brasco is one of the great gangster films, and I actually like it a lot more than Once Upon a Time in America. Have you read the book about the real guy? It's a fascinating read and shows just how good the adaptation is. Pacino and Depp are both at their best here.

  2. Yep, one of the best gangster flicks ever, and I completely agree with you: watching this movie just makes me wish someone would give Johnny Depp an intelligent script again. Damn shame what's going on with that dude's career.


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