The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.
This true story follows FBI agent Joe Pistone as he infiltrates the mafia of New York. Befriending Lefty Ruggiero, Pistone (under the name Donnie Brasco) is able to embed himself in a mafia faction lead by Sonny Black. Ruggiero and Pistone become tight as the group goes about collecting money for 'the bosses'. Eventually, the group become big time when Black himself becomes a boss, all the while Pistone collects evidence. However, the trials and tribulations of the undercover work become more than Pistone can bear. His marriage falls apart and to top it off, the mafia suspect a mole in the organization. The real dilemma is afforded to Pistone, who knows if he walks away from the mafia, Ruggiero will be the one punished. Written by
P. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In a world filled with overheated, and frequently overpraised, gangster movies, it seems to me that Mike Newell's 'Donnie Brasco', the story of a cop who goes undercover to infiltrate the mob, is arguably overlooked. Based on real life events, it contains great performances from Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, a complex but coherent plot, addresses universal themes (divided loyalties, the evolution of human relationships and behaviour) and the ending is genuinely moving. Perhaps it's not fast-paced enough for devotees of the genre; more likely it "fails" this audience for its very success in portraying the mafia as fundamentally pathetic, whereas most gangster pictures at least partly buy into the glamorous myth. But for me, this a superior film to Scorcese's 'Goodfellas', with a faint note of very black comedy that sounds behind the slaughter. Recommended.
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