Friday, July 10, 2015

Donnie Brasco - Movie Review

Some movies are so riveting that you cannot keep away from them for too long. Donnie Brasco falls into that category. I casually started to watch it and got sucked in completely. When I had to take a break I could not wait to get back to it. Terrific drama and human conflict. As always, nothing better than real life to provide the most incredible stories - DB is a real story.

Some time in the 1970s (the real story), an undercover FBI cop Joe Pistone infiltrated the powerful Bonnano family under the name Donnie Brasco. Donnie poses as a jeweller and befriends an aging hit man Lefty, who vouches for him and introduces him to the gang. Based on the Pistone revelations over a period of time the FBI makes many convictions. DB gets an award and a cheque fro 500 dollars. The mafia has an open hit on Donnie Brasco worth some USD 500000 and he currently lives in an undisclosed location with his wife. The movie is an adaptation of his book.

Al Pacino as Lefty Ruggiero, the aging hit man is a complete natural and his chemistry with the young Donnie Brasco played by Johnny Depp is unbelievably good. The bond the two share, knowing that both their lives are at stake if their trust goes wrong, the undercurrent of danger they live in, the uncertain and not so glamorous world of the gangsters, their vulnerable human side is shown only too well. The scene at the hospital where  Al Pacino's son is admitted for drug overdose shows the heart of a father bleeding for his errant son. And the scene when Pacino is 'sent for' after the news that Donnie Brasco is an FBI agent is revealed - he steps back into the house after kissing his wife goodnight and telling her not to stay up for him, and slowly takes off all his belongings from his body and places them in a drawer - the tragic consequences of a mafia gangster's life. Or the temperamental, violent and vulnerable Sonny Black trying to hold his own as the chief of a not-too-efficient unit. Pacino and Depp are razor sharp, so good that you cannot but admire such good craftsmanship.

Donnie Brasco haunts you with strong emotions you would not believe capable of being produced by a gang of hardened gangsters.

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