English Movies, Thriller

Donnie Brasco directed by Mike Newell

donniebrasco One of the classics of the ‘mafia thriller’ genre and it lives upto its promise after all this time…I watched this movie and Sweeney Todd almost back to back and got a testimony to the acting range of Depp first hand. Al Pacino, well, is a master at the craft…

Depp as the undercover police agent infiltrating the mafia and eventually becoming a ‘part of them’ in many ways is sublime as he plays out his troubled conscience which is torn between the ‘real world’ of his family and his assumed identity as a Mafia insider where he feels a strong kinship with Lefty (Al Pacino), a man with whom he finds true comradeship, something that the ‘real world’  is unable to fill.

Pacino is the long timer in the mafia circle but who has been passed over again and again in favour of more dashing and ruthless younger1026909.C members of the gang. He feels strongly attached to Depp who he treats first as a protégé and increasingly as a son. The emotional and the vulnerable character that Pacino plays is very different from the usual portrayal of a ruthless and unconscionable mafia member and this multi-dimensional nature of his character makes him as and perhaps more real than the people on the right side of the law…

There are twists and turns in the movie as you would expect in a movie of this genre but the focus is on the upheavals in the relationships in the lives of the people on both sides of the fence and who are caught in the crossfire…and in that field, the movie excels…what the movie alsoimages excels in is showing the relativity of ‘good and bad’ in society. Depp perhaps finds more meaning in his assumed identity than otherwise. In Pacino, he finds a friend that he does not have, a friend he  is ‘dutybound’ to betray…

The end of the movie both from the perspective of Pacino and Depp is one of the best endings I have seen…Pacino resigning himself to the ‘rules’ that he has always played by and his poignant preparation for it and leaving his ‘fortune’ for the woman he loves is moving; Depp seeing the farce of the society that he supposedly protected at the risk of his life – his gaze at the end saying it all.

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