Terry Noonan returns home to New York's Hells Kitchen after a ten year absence. He soon hooks up with childhood pal Jackie who is involved in the Irish mob run by his brother Frankie. Terry also rekindles an old flame with Jackie's sister Kathleen. Soon, however, Terry is torn between his loyalty to his friends and his loyalties to others. Written by
Josh Pasnak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Nicholson guns down the bartender who had just been talking to Terry, the baseball bat the bartender is holding while being shot varies from being shot to pieces to being back in one piece again between shots. See more »
So I was in Boston, I just ended up there. Seemed far enough away. They come to me then, it just happened, you know how that is, things happen and other things happen and its your life. They were looking to get somebody to go undercover here, they wanted to get somebody who knew the kitchen who was known. And I coulda said no but I thought I could do it. It was like this opportunity in which I could look the entire thing in the eye. And you'd be gone, or married forgotten about me I thought. ...
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State of Grace is directed by Phil Joanou and written by Dennis McIntyre. It stars Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, John Turturo and John C. Reilly. Music is by Ennio Morricone and cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth.
Terry Noonan (Penn) returns to Hells Kitchen after a number of years away and finds his best pal, Jackie Flannery (Oldman), is a major player in the Irish/American mob being run by his elder brother, Frankie Flannery (Harris). With a love interest rekindled and a secret he dare not reveal, Terry is soon caught in a maelstrom of danger and tested loyalties.
It got lost in the slipstream of Goodfellas, but although it's not in the same league as Scorsese's critical darling, State of Grace is a splendid slice of neo-noir gangsterism. The plot is made up of standard genre tropes, divided loyalties, betrayals, kinship, revenge, rivalries, territorial machismo and etc, all of which of course comes laced with spitfire dialogue and sparky violence.
The strengths come with the performances of the lead cast members, the visual flourishes via Cronenweth and Joanou and Morricone's classical score. Penn and Oldman are forces of nature, the former a ball of emotional turbulence, the latter a hopped up maniac with killer tendencies. Harris as the daddio main man is a moody and malevolent presence, as is Joe Viterelli as mafia boss man Borelli. Wright seems a little out of place in this material, Turturo isn't used nearly enough, but Reilly scores well with a limited role and Burgess Meredith pops in for a superb cameo.
It doesn't have originality on its side, but it's a mightily strong film regardless, with the human drama drawing one in as the tech skills impress across the board. 8/10
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