When I was first assigned to see Donnie Brasco I
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When I was first assigned to see "Donnie Brasco" I instantly had an image of another ruff and intense mobster movie. It has been a while since Hollywood has attempted to do a mob related movie until now. "Donnie Brasco" was released last Friday. This movie stars Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. The movie is based on a true story about Joe Pistone and FBI agent who infiltrated the New York mob ring. Johnny Depp takes the role of Pistone a.k.a. Donnie Brasco. Donnie meets Lefty, played by Pacino. Lefty is a New York City mob veteran, although he is very tired and wore out from the life he lives. He also has a serious gambling problem, owes serious money to his bosses, has a son that is a junkie and has been passed up for promotion in the ring several times, as he is ready to get out of the game. This adds a lot to the character of Lefty. Al Pacino did a wonderful job of presenting this character. Lefty runs into Donnie and gets excited at the possibility of taking this young, vibrant kid under his wings. Donnie is soon introduced to all the key players of the Mafia as Lefty vouches his life on Donnie being a true mob player. Donnie picks up a lot about the routines of this crime organization and is on his way to the top.
As all of these Mafia ties are being made, Brasco is faced with the troubling situation brewing with his family. He has to spend so much time with the mob that his family is left behind. His wife Maggie, played by Anne Heche, is struggling each day trying to take care of the house, bills and the three daughters while her husband is gone. He only gets to visit once every three months during the years he is involved with this sting. The frustrations of this creates serious hostility between the two.
Brasco is soon faced with another situation when one of the ring leader’s named Sunny decides to let Donnie run his mob ring down in Florida. Lefty is devastated as his protégé passes him up and goes to the top of the ring. Donnie is faced with several different conflicts between his loyalty to Lefty, the demise of his family and the fact that he is an FBI agent and must bring down this ring that has molded him into a player.
I enjoyed this movie tremendously. The acting by Pacino and Depp was the key to the film. These two worked off of each other to a perfection. The supporting mobsters played by Bruno Kirby and James Russo also help the film with their stupid remarks and their brainless persona. This movie surprised me in the amount of humor that was thrown in amongst the mobsters. At first, I thought the comedy situations were out of place because of my idea of what a mob movie should be, but I was wrong it added a lot to the entire feel of the movie. Another aspect of this film that set it apart from other Mafia movies was the focus on not the leaders of the ring, but the lower class mobsters. The film was directed by Mike Newell who also directed "Four Weddings And A Funeral" and "Into The West." He sums up the movie perfectly by saying "Donnie Brasco is about two men who get caught in a conflict of loyalties."
I really did enjoy this movie, especially Al Pacino. I believe this is one of the best movie he has done in a long time. The same can be said of Johnny Depp and his acting.
All in all this was a good movie and I give it three roadrunners.
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Bonanno crime family, American film directors, Joseph D. Pistone, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Mike Newell, Donnie, Anne Heche, Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, Benjamin Ruggiero
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