Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Donnie Brasco (1997)

Synopsis: 21 Jump Street infiltrates the mob!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “In the mid-1970s, FBI agent Joe Pistone infiltrated the violent Mafia underworld, getting closer to its inner circle than any US law officer ever had. This is based on his true story. Al Pacino and Johnny Depp deliver two of their greatest performances yet in this thoroughly engrossing, suspenseful tale of friendship, honour and betrayal.”

What Did I Learn?: If you’re in the Mafia, don’t EVER vouch for ANYONE.

Really?: 1) Lefty (Pacino) receives a fully-grown lion as a gag gift. Ok, that's kind of funny, but the crew later uses the lion to promote a club in Florida. How did they take care of a lion? 2) The FBI eventually informs the gangsters that Donnie is actually Joe. What purpose did that serve, except to get Lefty whacked, and tip off the bad guys that indictments are probably coming their way?

Rating: Donnie Brasco is a suspenseful police story and a fascinating inside look at the knockaround guys in the late 1970s mob (many of whom didn’t have two nickels to scrape together because there were just too many wiseguys). It’s also an engrossing human drama: by the end, Donnie/Joe is on the verge of a breakdown, his marriage is on the rocks, and he knows that if he walks away, Lefty will likely get whacked. It’s a good movie on many levels. 9/10 stars.

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