AMC did a Mob Week the other week and I got all excited about maybe trying to do my own version. Didn’t happen. The Olympics have killed a lot of productivity for me lately. I did manage to watch Donnie Brasco however, as that is what AMC was showing when I had this genius idea.
I think that I have only watched Donnie Brasco once. It is not really what you think of as far as mob movies go. Everyone wants to list off Goodfellas, The Godfather, Casino, Scarface, etc. I suppose there is a reason Donnie Brasco is left off that list. I can’t argue with anyone for not choosing it as there favorite. Hell, even I forgot about it till AMC showed it.
The film is supposed to be based off true events where a FBI agent went under cover in New York. Johnny Depp plays Pistone/Brasco, the man undercover and Lefty (Pacino) is an aged wiseguy who is fairly low on the food chain. THe movie focuses on the characters. It really isn’t about what they are doing. Half of the dirty jobs are done via montage. The film focuses on Pistone coping with being undercover while having a wife and three daughters. You see how unglamorous the lifestyle is through Lefty. This flick came out in ’97. Al Pacino isn’t young. He’s not playing a hotshot and his character is used to help illustrate how shitty that lifestyle can be. He’s not Michael Corleone or Tony Montana.
I think that the story is handled well. It felt like it lacked some action and in comparison to some of the great mob films out there, it falls short. It is still a pretty good movie though. Part of the problem is when the film sort of wanders into just focusing on the mob life.
Depp is okay. Nothing special. Pacino was better maybe, but neither of these guys were going to win awards. I guess, I thought Pacino was interesting, seeing him play a character who really wasn’t a power player. There’s a hell of a supporting cast though. Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, Anne Heche, Zeljko Ivanek. Paul Giamatti and TIm Blake Nelson briefly appear as well.
Not the greatest mob movie nor any of the casts greatest work, but still a good flick. I don’t think it should be forgotten.
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